Saturday 1 October 2016

Drones used as search resumes for missing man after coast guard operation tragedy

Drones are deemed the "safest way" to progress with search this morning

Laura Larkin

Published 13/09/2016 | 10:45

The coast guard boat which capsized during a recue in Kilkee County Clare during a search for a missing local man. Pic:Mark Condren
The coast guard boat which capsized during a recue in Kilkee County Clare during a search for a missing local man. Pic:Mark Condren
The coast guard boat which capsized during a rescue in Kilkee County Clare during a search for a missing local man. Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
The coast guard boat which capsized during a rescue in Kilkee County Clare during a search for a missing local man. Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren

Volunteers resumed a search for a missing man in Co Clare this morning after a coast guard operation on Monday ended in tragedy.

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Caitriona Lucas, a member of the Irish Coastguard, was killed when the boat she was in alongside two coastguard colleagues capsized.

Ms Lucas (41), a mum of two who was originally from North Clare, was taking part in the search for missing school teacher David McMahon.

Mr McMahon has been missing since last Friday and hundreds of people have taken part in the search operation for him.

However, Gardai have asked volunteers to stay away from the cliff area in Kilkee today. The Clare Civil Defense were on site this morning to help with the search operation.

Clare Civil Defence have opted to deploy drones in the area which can cover a large area, as it has been deemed the safest way to progress the search at this time. It is expected that the coastguard helicopter will be called in if necessary later today.  

The coast guard boat which capsized during a rescue in Kilkee County Clare during a search for a missing local man. Pic:Mark Condren
The coast guard boat which capsized during a rescue in Kilkee County Clare during a search for a missing local man. Pic:Mark Condren

The Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) which Ms Lucas and two members of the Coastguard, Jenny Carway and James Lucey were travelling in, could be seen at the edge of a cave along the shoreline this morning.

Last night those organising the search party for the young man paid tribute to brave Caitriona.

Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren

"We cannot put words together that will be of any comfort but know that our entire community hold you all dearly in our hearts tonight and will do so forever.

"It is unimaginable to think that this is the reward for someone carrying out such a brave and selfless act & in a voluntary capacity. It is just not right," they said in a statement.

Sports Minister Shane Ross also paid tribute to Ms Lucas who has been hailed as a hero.

"This is an appalling tragedy; the loss of a brave and valiant woman engaged in the most heroic of and unselfish of duties," he said.

Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren

"Such remarkable courage and heroism in the service of others is rarely equalled and never surpassed. On behalf of myself and my Department I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Caitriona – a woman who made the ultimate sacrifice in her service to others."

Locals are still coming to terms with yesterday's tragedy, one local man said there was "a sense of disbelief" in the area at the loss of Ms Lucas.

Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren

Her colleague Jenny Carway, who was rescued after the boat capsized and hospitalised, remains in hospital this morning but her condition is said not to be serious.

Mr Lucey is recovering at home following the incident.

Search operation for a missing local man continues in in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren
Search operation for a missing local man continues in Kilkee Co Clare Pic:Mark Condren

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