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Search for Derry man Tony Griffiths who vanished on Donegal camping trip to be ramped up

By Donna Deeney

Published 01/09/2016

Missing: Tony Griffiths
Missing: Tony Griffiths

Specialist divers are expected to join a search today for a Londonderry man who disappeared while camping with his family.

Tony Griffiths (59) went missing while staying on the Inishowen peninsula on Monday.

He had been camping on Doagh Island with at least one family member.

But on Tuesday morning he was no longer there, and when he failed to turn up by 6pm the alarm was raised.

Rising tides and sea swells hampered searches for Mr Griffiths yesterday evening.

The Irish Coastguard and two RNLI crews from Lough Swilly were stood down because of the dangerous conditions.

A large number of people from both Inishowen and Derry joined volunteers from Greencastle Cliff and Coastal Rescue in the land search for Mr Griffiths, while gardai appealed to landowners to check outbuildings.

Inspector David Murphy from Buncrana said every effort was being made to locate Mr Griffiths. He explained that the search began yesterday morning at first light with full resources until conditions on the water meant the operation had to be stood down.

"We are appealing to people on both sides of the border, given that Mr Griffiths lives in the Culmore area, which is so close to the border, that if anyone knows of his whereabouts to make contact with someone to let us know he is okay," he said.

"The family came to the Isle of Doagh area on Monday to camp. They pitched a tent and I understand that around midnight the family turned in for the night.

"In the morning it was discovered Tony wasn't in the locality and hasn't been seen since."

The stretch of water surrounding Doagh Island at Trawbreaga Bay is notorious for dangerous undercurrents.

Joe Joyce from Lough Swilly RNLI said this had made the search more difficult.

He added: "It was very frustrating that the tidal swells and strong wind meant that the water searches for Mr Griffiths had to be called off.

"But we hope to resume searching again at low tide.

"The weather forecast for the next day or two isn't great, but we will be ready if conditions improve."

Mr Griffiths is described as 5ft 10ins tall, of medium build, with sandy-coloured hair and blue eyes.

When last seen, he was wearing a grey T-shirt with a red and blue design and combat shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Buncrana Garda Station at (00353) 74 93 20540.

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