Monday 27 March 2017

Boat tragedy survivor's final farewell

Canon tells mourners of victim's love for Bantry Bay

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE sole survivor of a devastating sea tragedy that claimed three lives yesterday stood at the graveside of his friend to say a final farewell.

American national Edward Dziato (46) was a picture of grief as the funeral of Richard Harman (69) brought Bantry to a standstill.

At the funeral service in the Church of St Brendan the Navigator, Mr Harman was hailed for putting people before possessions throughout his life.

He perished in the fishing tragedy off Roancarraig Lighthouse last Monday, just weeks before he was due to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Mr Harman died alongside his good friends Wolfgang 'Mike' Schmidt (64) and Wolfgang Schroder (60), both German nationals who had relocated to Glengarriff and Bantry in recent years.

Both the German men were retired Merchant Marine sea captains.

The trio died when their eight-metre motor cruiser caught fire and then suffered an explosion that cast them into the freezing sea.

Hero

Yesterday, Canon Paul Willoughby told the mourners that it was fitting Mr Harman had met his end in the company of good friends -- and in Bantry Bay, which he loved throughout his life.

Canon Willoughby said that Mr Harman had enjoyed literature, poetry, theatre, farming, west Cork and his church. But above all else, he loved people.

The canon said that he also loved tall tales -- at one point telling his west Cork neighbours, after he had undergone a hip operation, that he had been involved in the Gulf War.

In a moving tribute, Cllr Noel Harrington said that everyone in the tightknit Glengarriff, Bantry and Adrigole communities would have celebrated Mr Harman's 70th birthday next month, such was his widespread popularity.

"He was the cornerstone of the community in Glengarriff and loved fishing, horses and talk of a little politics," he said.

Cllr Harrington added: "Richard did not focus on possessions -- his friends were what counted. It was not unusual for the four of them to hit off to fish for pollock or mackerel."

The congregation was asked to pray for the Schmidt and Schroder families, as well as Mr Dziato, who moved to Glengarriff from Connecticut.

The sole survivor has been hailed as a hero for his courageous efforts to save the lives of his three companions in the freezing sea.

Mr Harman was buried in the old cemetery in his native Adrigole.

Mr Schroder and Mr Schmidt will be cremated following a joint funeral service in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Glengarriff next Monday.

Irish Independent

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