Three Latvian men who died off Co Kerry coast are named
Postmortems held on bodies of sea anglers recovered after overturned boat spotted
The scene at Coonanna Harbour on Sunday evening. Authorities believe the three men had been out on the water fishing. Photograph: Alan Landers
Autopsies have been carried out on the three Latvian men who died during a fishing trip off the coast of south Kerry on Sunday.
The men have been named locally as Valarijis Klimentjevs, who was in his mid-30s and lived in Tralee and Anatolijs Teivans and Jurijs Burceus, who lived in Killarney. Mr Teivans was in his 50s and Mr Burceus was in this 30s.
Their bodies were recovered from the sea after their overturned boat was spotted off the pier at Coonanna Harbour just north of Cahersiveen on Sunday evening.
Postmortems were carried out at the morgue at University Hospital Kerry in Tralee.
A family liaison officer has been appointed by gardai to help the families of the three men in Ireland and in Latvia.
The mayor of Kerry has extended the sympathy of the people of the county to the families of the three.
“The people of Kerry are shocked and saddened at this appalling tragedy. I want to express my condolences to the mens’ families at this very sad time,” said Fianna Fáil Cllr Norma Foley.
“There is a small but valued Latvian community in Kerry and our thoughts and prayers are with the Latvian community and the men’s friends and neighbours at this time. I have no doubt that the people of south Kerry and beyond will do everything they can to support the bereaved through this difficult period.”
Debris from the boat was spotted by members of the cliff and coast Iveragh coastguard unit, indicating the fibreglass punt had partially broken against rocks overnight. The debris has been recovered and is in possession of gardaí in Cahersiveen and will be examined by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.
Family members of three men who were taken from the water just off Coonanna Harbour in south Kerry yesterday evening made contact with gardai on Sunday night after the men did not return home.
Two of the men had been living in Killarney. Generally the small Latvian community works in recycling as well as joinery businesses.
There are calls in Kerry for better information for the non-Irish population who work in the hotel and service industry in the county. Angling is popular with East Europeans especially but there have been a number of tragedies.
Michael Cahill, a long time councillor for South and West Kerry who lives at Rossbeigh and grew up alongside the Atlantic has said the loss of the three men just off the coast on Sunday was “a terrible tragedy”.
Local fishermen in Dingle Bay, Cromane and elsewhere were wary of north westerly winds, he said.
“People who come to this country may not be as au fait with the sea and weather conditions which those of us who grew up here near the sea would know about from older people and our families. We need to make sure sea safety campaigns and awareness of local conditions is communicated to them,” the Fianna Fáil councillor said.
The men had arrived by car to Coonana just outside Cahersiveen and had set out early on Sunday morning, shortly before 8.30am, to fish in the harbour, an area they were familiar with.
It is not clear yet what kind of equipment they were using whether rods or nets.
All three bodies were recovered from just off shore within an hour of reports to emergency services by a man walking in the area shortly after 6pm.
He noticed the overturned boat and a man floating in the water.
One of the bodies was closer to the pier than the others - all three had been wearing flotation devices.
They had been in the water for some hours, it is thought, though the cause of the accident remains a mystery.
The parish priest of Cahersiveen and Valentia, Fr Larry Kelly said everyone felt huge sorrow. “It’s a huge tragedy,” Fr Kelly said.