Belfast Telegraph

Survivor assists search teams in Lough Ree fishing tragedy

By Dave Whelan

The search for a missing fisherman on Lough Ree in Co Roscommon is set to intensify after new information was provided by one of the men rescued from the scene.

John Trimble (60) had been in a critical condition in hospital since the tragedy on Thursday but gardai confirmed yesterday that he was awake and helping them with their investigation.

The three members of the Portadown Pikers angling club in Co Armagh had set out on a fishing trip from Hodson Bay before getting into difficulty.

David Warnock (27), from Richhill, died after being rescued from the lake, while their friend Darryl Burke (30), from Portadown, remains missing.

The search for Mr Burke will enter its sixth day after weather conditions meant that it had to be halted shortly after 4pm yesterday.

Hundreds of volunteers have joined a co-ordinated land and sea search every day since the initial tragedy including over 100 members of the men's own club.

The search had been focused on finding the missing boat, although it is now believed that Mr Trimble has told gardai that the three men had been separated from the boat after they had left the bay and tried to get to shore using fishing equipment to stay afloat.

It is also believed that Mr Burke became separated from the other two men.

Speaking after the search was halted yesterday, Sean McCarry, regional commander of the Northern Ireland Rescue Service, said that gardai were confident they had gained as much possible information from Mr Trimble.

"Unfortunately, despite the new information we found nothing new," he said.

"The weather conditions are making it increasingly difficult to conduct the search but we are hopeful that with the information provided we might be able to speed things up.

"The operation here is extremely well co-ordinated and everyone is doing everything in their power to help," said Mr McCarry.

Yesterday more than 500 people filled the church and church hall of St John's Parish Church, Mullabrack, near Markethill, for the funeral of Mr Warnock.

Mr Warnock, a former Armagh Hockey Club captain, was engaged and had a four-year-old son.

A relative of Mr Warnock and deputy mayor of Craigavon, Colin McCusker, said that the family took great strength from the volume of people showing their support and offering prayers. He said: "Both the church and the hall were filled with people wanting to pay their respects and even as we were leaving there was still people coming in through the door."

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

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