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Sunday 30 April 2017

Fishermen search to be scaled back

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE search for two fishermen missing from the wrecked Tit Bonhomme trawler is to be scaled back to a localised search within the next 48 hours.

The move came as Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited Union Hall in west Cork to offer his support to the families and to pay tribute to the volunteers who have supported one of the biggest search operations in Irish history.

Today marks the 23rd day of the search operation triggered when the 21m trawler sank after striking rocks off Adam Island at the entrance to Glandore Bay on January 15.

Tit Bonhomme skipper, Michael Hayes (52), and his Egyptian crewman, Saied aly Eldin (24), are still missing.

Abdou Mohamad (40), a father of three from outside Alexandria in Egypt, was the only member of the trawler's six-strong crew to survive.

Three of the five drowned crewmen -- Shabban Attia (26), Kevin Kershaw (21) and Wael Mohamad (32) -- have since been recovered.

However, the last body was recovered over two weeks ago on January 22.

Yesterday, over 60 experienced divers and kayakers answered the families' plea for volunteers and conducted an exhaustive search.

Volunteers arrived from diving and rescue clubs across Ireland and, at one point, over 300 volunteers were involved in the search.

The Irish Coastguard's Tim O'Keeffe said that, regrettably, they will shortly have to make a decision on scaling down the search.

Mr Hayes's wife, Cailin, said the families are refusing to give up hope.

Irish Independent

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