Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Tragic Lough Ree angler Daryl Burke was about to be father of baby girl for first time

Members of the Athlone sub aqua club taking part in the search of Lough Ree in Co Westmeath for Daryl Burke
Members of the Athlone sub aqua club taking part in the search of Lough Ree in Co Westmeath for Daryl Burke

An angler whose body was finally pulled from a lough in the Republic on Saturday was about to become a father to a baby girl for the first time, it has emerged.

Co Armagh man Daryl Burke was fishing with two other men when their boat capsized in bad conditions on Lough Ree near Athlone, Co Westmeath, last month.

The 30-year-old's wife Louise – who was at the lough when his body was found – is due to give birth to their only daughter within weeks. Mr Burke was already the father of three boys.

As the two-week search was drawn to a close, Mr Burke's family started the preparations to take his body home last night. RNLI crews who had been scouring the lough said they found the body near the shoreline at around 2pm.

Last Monday evening, divers searching for the angler recovered his boat in the Yew Point area off the lough's west shore line, giving fresh hope to Daryl's family that his body would be found.

Six anglers had left Hodson Bay on March 20 on two 15ft flat-bottomed vessels for a pike-fishing and camping trip, but one boat capsized in the poor sailing conditions. One of the three anglers who fell overboard – David Warnock (27), from Richhill, Co Armagh – died after being rescued from the lake.

A third man, John Trimble (60), is recovering from his injuries and even joined the search to help locate his friend.

Friends of the pair have flooded Facebook with tributes.

One poignantly read: "It's good to have you coming home Daryl. You're safe in the arms of the angels now mate gone to fish in calmer waters." Craigavon UUP councillor Colin McCusker knew Mr Burke through the Portadown Pikers angling club. He said he had a great passion for fishing.

"Daryl was very active and any time I met him he always had a smile on his face and he loved to help people," he said.

Daryl Burke whose body was found at Lough Ree near Athlone
Daryl Burke whose body was found at Lough Ree near Athlone

"The three boys and his soon-to-be-born daughter are now facing a life without their father.

"The Portadown Pikers are working hard to set up a trust fund that will help both victims' families."

The Portadown Pikers said in a statement: "Today we search no longer, but start to grieve more stronger. Thanks to all who came to the vigil last night."

Sean McCarry of the Community Rescue Service said the body was due to return home last night.

He said: "His body was found by the Boyne Fishermen's Rescue and Recovery Service. His wife, family and friends had not left the site so they had been there constantly waiting for the news. It's sad but also a relief for the family and those involved in the search process."

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