Funeral of Cork fishing tragedy victims
The funeral will take place today of the two retired German sea captains who died in a motor cruiser tragedy in the Republic last week.
Wolfgang ‘Mike' Schmidt (64) and Wolfgang Schroder (60) died alongside Adrigole native Richard Harman (69) when the motor cruiser on which they set out on an angling trip last Monday caught fire off the Cork coast, exploded and then sank. Only one man, American Edward ‘Ed' Dziato (46), survived the tragic accident.
Mr Dziato, a native of Connecticut, was hailed as a hero for his desperate attempts to help his three elderly companions in the freezing seas until they were rescued by the Irish Coastguard.
Last night, hundreds gathered to pay their last respects to Mr Schmidt and Mr Schroder ahead of a joint ceremony today.
Mr Schmidt, a native of Husum near Schleswig in northern Germany, lay in repose last night in the Sacred Heart Church in Glengarriffe.
He had been resident in Glengarriffe since his retirement.
Mr Schroder, a native of Hitzacker near Luneburg in northern Germany, was removed to the Sacred Heart Church after laying in repose in Coakley's funeral home.
He has been living at Saskia outside Bantry.
The mourners last night included locals, neighbours, fellow sailors as well as members of the tightknit German ex-pat community in West Cork.
Mr Schmidt had been holidaying and living in the Glengarriffe area for almost 40 years.
Amongst the mourners last night was his wife, Ina, and sailing friends from Glengarriffe and Bere Island.
A total of 193 people died in that tragedy - but dozens were saved thanks to the efforts of Captain Schroder and his crew.
The funeral service will take place at noon today (Monday).
They will then be removed for private cremation services.
Twin investigations into the tragedy are underway by both the Gardai and the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).
It remains unclear whether the eight-metre long motor cruiser, 'Castaway', will have to be raised from the seabed as part of the inquiry.