Belfast Telegraph

Search for missing fisherman stood down for the night

The operation is now categorised as a search and recovery operation and will continue on Tuesday morning.

The Irish Coast Guard is involved in the search off Hook Head, Co Wexford (Niall Carson/PA)
The Irish Coast Guard is involved in the search off Hook Head, Co Wexford (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

The search for fisherman Willie Whelan, who has been missing since the trawler he was on sank on Saturday night, has been called off for the evening.

The boat, with a crew of two, went down near Hook Head on Saturday.

One man, in his 60s, was recovered from the water and taken to University Hospital Waterford but died on Sunday.

He has been named locally as Joseph “Joe” Sinnott and was a father of four.

Mr Whelan is still missing and rescuers are focusing on an area about six nautical miles south of Hook Head.

The operation is now categorised as a search and recovery operation. It will resume on Tuesday morning.

Irish navy patrol vessel LE Ciara has taken command of the operation.

RNLI crews from Kilmore Quay, Dunmore East and Fethard-on-Sea and the Coast Guard are leading the search, with two rescue helicopters also involved.

However, forecaster Met Eireann said a Status Yellow gale warning is in place, which states that “in coastal areas, southerly winds will reach mean speeds of 50 to 65 km/h with occasional gusts of 90 to 100 km/h”.

Coast Guard unit manager Niall Ferns told RTE radio the stormy weather may hamper the search.

“At the moment, unfortunately, the winds have increased (with) gale force 8 southerly winds. That is going to have an impact on the search today,” he said on Monday morning.

“There is a possibility the weather on scene will improve this afternoon. We will be continuing with the search with all the assets we have.”

Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar spoke to the director of the Irish Coast Guard, Eugene Clonan on Monday morning to thank staff and volunteers for their ongoing work in the search operation off Hook Head.

He said: “As the search continues, our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing fisherman, and those of his bereaved colleague.

“The Defence Forces is also providing assistance in this search, with the LE Ciara acting as a co-ordinating vessel. In my role as Minister for Defence, I assured Mr Clonan that the Defence Forces will be available to provide further assistance if required.”

Meanwhile, the funeral arrangements for Mr Sinnott have been announced.

His death notice reads: “Beloved husband of Mary and loving father of Michael, Siobhan, Bernie and Bridget, sadly missed by his family, brother, sister, sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, uncles, aunts, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.”

Funeral prayers will be held on Wednesday at 11.15am followed by removal to St Mary’s Church Kilmore for Funeral Mass at 12pm, with burial afterwards in the New Cemetery in Kilmore.

His family have asked for donations to be made to to the RNLI in lieu of flowers.

PA

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