Monday 26 June 2017

Navy robot fails to find any trace of missing fishermen

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A Navy robot camera has found no trace of the bodies of three missing fishermen within the wrecked trawler the Tit Bonhomme.

But the Irish Coast Guard, navy and gardai will today double the number of divers operating in waters around Adam Island off Glandore in west Cork in a bid to locate the bodies.

A huge search operation will resume at dawn for the sixth day for skipper Michael Hayes (52) and his two Egyptian crewmen, Saied aly Eldin (24) and Wael Mohamad (32).

Mr Mohamad is the younger brother of the only survivor of last Sunday's trawler tragedy, Abdou Mohamad (40).

The search was focused yesterday on the trawler wreck site and on Long Point, just off Adam Island, close to the area where the bodies of Kevin Kershaw (21) and Shaban Attia (26) were recovered on Thursday.

Divers yesterday conducted operations throughout the day on the wreck and used the Remotely Operated Vehicle, with its powerful lights and camera, to examine parts of the hull interior.

The dive on the wreck lasted for two hours and 20 minutes -- and the navy confirmed to the Irish Independent that nothing was found.

Pier co-ordinator John Kearney said that the search needs greater numbers.

"The visibility in some of these areas is the problem -- divers can see sometimes see just 12 or 18 inches in front of them," he said.

Navy and garda divers have been supplemented by sub-aqua and rescue clubs from Fermoy, Mallow and Baltimore in Cork, as well as clubs in Dublin and Louth.

Several are now using side-scan sonar -- a device that allows for the mapping of the sea bed for anomalies. The technology has already resulted in the recovery of 12 bodies in nationwide searches over recent years.

Two 'hits' were recorded by the sonar yesterday but neither proved to be human remains.

Trawlers, Naval Service and Irish Coastguard craft continue to scour an area from Toe Head to Owenahincha for any trace of the three men.

Mr Hayes's wife and mother of five, Kathleen, went out searching on a trawler for the fifth day.

Last night, Mr Attia's best friend, Mido el Gharabawy, told the Irish Independent that once the body is released from Cork University Hospital (CUH), he will be escorting the remains back to Egypt for burial at the request of the Attia family.

"He was my friend -- I will take him back to Egypt and to his family. He will be buried there. He (Shaban) has three brothers, two in Egypt and one in Paris, and two sisters in Egypt.

"His mother only died last week but we didn't want to tell him until he came back from his fishing trip. But he did not come back for us to tell him," he added.

No funeral arrangements have been finalised for Kevin Kershaw (21), who was born in Tallaght, Dublin, but had lived for the past six years in Clonakilty in west Cork.

Irish Independent

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