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Mum who lost three generations of her family in trawler tragedy is laid to rest

By Claire McNeilly

A woman who lost her husband, son and grandson in a trawler tragedy was laid to rest yesterday.

Mourners descended on the fishing village of Kilkeel to say a final goodbye to Anne Greene, who passed away on February 1, 15 years after the tragedy at sea.

Requiem Mass was held at noon in St Colman's Church, Massforth, after which the mother-of-three was buried in the adjoining cemetery.

Mickey Greene (54), Michael jnr (32) and his eight-year-old son, also Michael, died when the fishing boat they were trawling for prawns in went down in mysterious circumstances.

It happened in mid-February 2002, although their bodies were only recovered in the wreck of the Tullaghmurry Lass in 140 feet of water in the Irish Sea more than a month later.

Family members were plunged into grief when the boat failed to return from an early morning fishing trip on Valentine's Day, taken while young Michael was on half-term holiday.

When the alarm was raised that evening helicopters from Aldergrove and Dublin were tasked, along with lifeboats from Kilkeel and Newcastle, and Port St Mary and Peel on the Isle of Man. They were joined by a fleet of 16 local fishing boats and an RAF Nimrod from Scotland.

As time passed and all hope of finding survivors disappeared, remote control underwater vehicles, dive teams and sonar equipment continued to be deployed to try to trace the bodies.

The Greenes endured an unbearable wait for news for five weeks before the wreckage of the 10-metre family-owned vessel was discovered on the seabed, seven miles out. It took a further three tortuous weeks before the bodies were finally recovered and returned to their loved ones for burial.

An inquest into the deaths found that the boy, his father and grandfather drowned after the boat was sunk by an explosion, possibly caused by the leaking of cooking gas. The Tullaghmurry Lass went down in a stretch of water called Chapel Hards before its crew had the chance to land the nets for the prawns they were fishing for.

On April 17, 2002, Kilkeel marked one of its darkest days in living memory when hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects to the Greene family as they gathered to bury three generations.

The 2002 tragedy was not the first for the Greene family.

Michael snr's brother Hugo drowned in Kilkeel harbour 24 years ago, aged 32.

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