Belfast Telegraph

Body found in search for Belfast man

By Cate McCurry

A body has been found in the search for a Belfast man who has been missing for three days.

The man, who failed to return to a tour bus in Co Clare, had been travelling on the bus which stopped at Ballyreen on the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route between Fanore and Lisdoonvarna.

A number of people in the tour group left the bus to enjoy the Burren and Atlantic scenery and the man was last seen at about 12.30pm.

The alarm was raised at around 2.30pm when he failed to return to his coach at the designated time.

Gardai were called to the scene where they spoke to the bus driver.

A short time later, the Irish Coast Guard was contacted and quickly launched a land, sea and air search.

The Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter carried out sweeps of the area as well as along cliff paths as far south as the Cliffs of Moher and north to Black Head, the Clare Herald reported.

The Doolin Coast Guard boat was launched and carried out a search parallel to the shore while land-based teams walked to the cliff top and shoreline.

When nothing was found on Monday night, the search was stood down until first light yesterday.

It had been hoped that the man might have wandered off and lost track of time or maybe got lost while walking through the Burren.

When the search resumed yesterday, Coast Guard search teams were joined by volunteers from Clare Civil Defence.

Personnel launched a Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA), or drone, to scan the coastline, local beaches and surrounding lands in the hope of finding some trace of the missing man.

Weather conditions were too poor however to launch the Coast Guard boats.

However, the search operation was called off last night after the body was discovered on a beach in Galway, some 30km from where he was last seen.

Meanwhile, the PSNI confirmed that Catherine Johnston, a teacher from east Belfast, is still missing.

The mother-of-one disappeared on December 13 and her car was later found at Ballintoy Harbour on the Antrim coast.

Her disappearance sparked a major air and sea operation.

Mrs Johnston, who teaches at Hazelwood College and is also head of year 10 pupils, was described as "a shining star" by Hazelwood Integrated College principal Kathleen O'Hare.

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