Belfast Telegraph

Hopes fade for missing trawler men

Hopes are fading for the safe return of five men missing after a trawler sank off the west Cork coast.

A 21-year-old student from Clonakilty, Co Cork, who was interested in taking up a career at sea, is thought to have been on board when the vessel went down close to Union Hall harbour.

Skipper Michael Hayes, a married father from Ring, Co Waterford, who had been living in Union Hall for years, and four Egyptian men, aged in their 20s, were also on the 21-metre Tit Bonhomme.

One of the Egyptian fishermen was rescued and is said to be in a comfortable condition at Cork University Hospital.

Distraught relatives of the missing men gathered on the wind-swept pier throughout the day waiting for news on the whereabouts of their loved ones.

It is believed the Irish-registered vessel struck rocks, known locally as Adam and Eve Island, just moments away from the pier in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Crew made a distress call to the Coast Guard at around 6am, but it was cut off and all radio contact was lost.

A massive search by Coast Guard helicopters from Shannon and Waterford, and lifeboats from Courtmacsherry and Baltimore was stood down on Sunday evening until first light on Monday morning.

The Naval Service vessel LE Niamh and up to 15 local trawlers had also joined the operation. Strong winds and heavy seas hampered the search and rescue mission throughout the day.

Vincent O'Donovan, of Courtmacsherry Lifeboat station, said the Tit Bonhomme had taken some battering in the rough waters.

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