Belfast Telegraph

Sad homecoming for John Trimble - the only survivor of Lough Ree fishing boat tragedy

By Rebecca Black

The lone survivor of a fishing tragedy which left one young man dead and a second missing has returned home.

John Trimble (60), from Markethill, Co Armagh, was rescued last Thursday night when the boat he was sailing in Lough Ree with two friends capsized.

David Warnock (27), from Markethill, was also pulled from the water but later died.

The third man Darryl Burke (30), from Portadown, was last night still missing.

All three men – members of the Portadown Pikers angling club – were on a fishing and camping trip when the weather suddenly deteriorated.

Mr Trimble was treated in hospital for a number of days. But despite his traumatic experience, he returned on a boat to the scene of the tragedy on Wednesday to try and help rescuers narrow down their search for Mr Burke.

The search operation finished around 7pm last night and will resume this morning at first light.

Sean McCarry from the Northern Ireland Community Rescue Team is among those searching for Mr Burke.

"We have been working along with the dive teams for four days non-stop with the search area expanding further and further out," he said.

"The lough is 105 square kms so there is a lot of water.

"The water depth varies from five foot to 50 foot and you have a lot of contours.

"John Trimble was out on the boat and pointed out the area where the boat went down. There was a massive storm when the boat sunk, 30 to 40 knot winds."

A chair from the boat was found on Tuesday, but other than that there has been no sign of the wreckage or Mr Burke.

Mr McCarry revealed that commercial diving company Subsea Marine from Dundalk have lent an underwater remote controlled camera to help with the search.

"It has been a great help and we will be reviewing the scans it took before the search starts again at first light on Friday," he said. The Community Rescue Service Team is expected to remain at Lough Ree as long as required.

Meanwhile, rescue workers from the Republic have paid tribute to the people of Portadown.

Consignments of food and warm clothing have been getting sent to Athlone for rescue teams looking for Mr Burke.

Gerry White, who is among the many searchers, issued thanks to "the kind people of Portadown for their overwhelming generosity".

"The amount of food and goodies I see being delivered here is absolutely astounding," he said.

"Rest assured that every effort is being made to have Darryl delivered home to his community as soon as possible."

BACKGROUND

A fund has been set up for the families at the centre of the tragedy. Hundreds of pounds has been donated for the families of David Warnock (27), from Markethill, who has died and Darryl Burke (30), from Portadown, who is missing. Mr Burke's pregnant wife Louise has been maintaining a vigil. Donations can be made at www.portadownpikers .co.uk.

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