Irish Navy joins search for Daniel Doherty after family appeal

Aunt of missing Mayo fisherman says weather conditions are ‘perfect’ for diving

Daniel Doherty, from Belmullet, has been missing since Friday evening when he was baiting lobster pots off Benwee Head. Photograph: Getty Images

Daniel Doherty, from Belmullet, has been missing since Friday evening when he was baiting lobster pots off Benwee Head. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Irish Navy vessels have joined in the search for missing Mayo fisherman Daniel Doherty after his family appealed for their assistance.

Daniel’s aunt Herta Doherty said it was important to the family to have the Navy assist.

“Weather conditions are perfect here for searching at the moment. Crucially, the conditions at sea are perfect for diving. This is a crucial time when we could find Daniel,” she said.

A Defence Forces spokesperson told The Irish Times a request for assistance in the search for Mr Doherty was submitted by gardaí on Tuesday, but they were operationally unable to respond to the request at that time.

The spokesperson confirmed: “The Naval Service have now deployed a section of divers to the dive site where they will assist with the ongoing efforts”.

The 23-year-old fisherman, who lives at Carratigue, Belmullet, has been missing since Friday.

It is believed Mr Doherty got into difficulty late on Friday as he was baiting lobster pots aboard his 30ft half-decker, Carra Rose.

The empty vessel, with its lights on, was located on its side at a beach close to Benwee Head shortly before 9pm on Friday.

Ms Doherty said an extensive search has been ongoing since the alarm was raised on Friday evening with local fishermen, the RNLI, the local coastguard, the Civil Defence, the Order of Malta, the local dive club and the Garda Síochána all involved.

“Hundreds and hundreds of people are involved in the sea and on land covering a vast area from Downpatrick’s Head all the way across to Erris Head”.

Giving her thanks to the volunteers involved, Ms Doherty added:

“If love and care and kindness and hard work and man power and good will could bring Daniel back, we’d have him here with us,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.