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Fisherman dies during annual trip home to west Cork

Published 16/08/2016

The Irish Coast Guard and RNLI were involved in the search
The Irish Coast Guard and RNLI were involved in the search

A fisherman has died on an annual summer trip home to fish off west Cork.

The man in his 60s, named locally as Michael John O'Brien, died while out on his 16ft boat near Schull on Monday.

It is understood his son raised the alarm after discovering he had not returned home eight hours after setting off, and the dead man's 92-year-old mother is said to be heartbroken by the tragedy.

Mr O'Brien, originally from near Rossbrin, Ballydehob, and from a large family, had spent most of his working life in London but routinely returned to west Cork to spend time with relatives and fishing off the coast.

Denis O'Donovan, Fianna Fail cathaoirleach of the Seanad, spent time with the family on Monday night after the tragedy emerged.

He said: "They are a very decent, close-knit family. Their mother is heartbroken. What more can you say - to lose anyone to the sea is tough, it's an awful tragedy for the family and it will be felt across the area.

"But there will be some comfort that they found the body. They will be deeply affected right across the extended family."

Mr O'Brien had undergone hip surgery in recent months.

His boat, believed to be a type of punt, was found near Long Island on Monday night.

His body was found a few miles away in Goleen Bay at about 11.10am on Tuesday after being spotted in the water by the crew of a local trawler.

The Schull Community Inshore Rescue Services Boat recovered the body.

The operation involved the inshore and all-weather RNLI lifeboats from Baltimore, Coast Guard helicopter 115 from Shannon, the LE Orla Navy ship and the Community Rescue Boat from Schull as well as local boats.

An inquest will be held and the incident will be investigated by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.

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