Sunday 26 March 2017

Newly-wed lost at sea 'not due to be on the boat'

Ryan Nugent

A newly-wed fisherman who has been missing off the east coast since last week was not meant to be working the day he went to sea.

Leonard ‘Lenny’ Hughes (49), who fell overboard near Kilmichael Point on the Wicklow-Wexford border, had agreed to cover for another fisherman.

He was whelk fishing with two other men when he got caught up in the anchor and was dragged under the boat shortly after 9am on Wednesday.

It is understood the skipper dived in after him but could not free him.

Mr Hughes was married in September and lived with his wife, Brigid, in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

RNLI units from Arklow, Wicklow and Rosslare are continuing to search for Mr Hughes.

The Naval Service and the Coast Guard helicopter carried out a series of searches but have now stood down.

RNLI sources told the Herald that due to the poor weather forecast for the next week, finding the body will be difficult.

Mr Hughes was described by friends as “happy” and an “easy-going kind of guy”.

His sister, Josephine, posted online saying  she was praying for the return of his body.

“Tomorrow is a big birthday for me. I had planned a family and friends party to celebrate, but sadly tragedy stuck my family,” she wrote.

“My brother Lenny lost his life at sea. All I want now would be the best present ever, to have him home with his wife and family to finally say goodbye.

“Loved so dearly broken- hearted love u bro [sic].”

Arklow councillor Tommy Annesley described Mr Hughes’ loss as a terrible tragedy and said it was another in a long line of deaths off the coast there.

“I’d have known him well. He only got married three months ago. It’s very, very sad. Such a young man,” he said.

Herald

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