Friday 30 September 2016

Search for missing Japanese tourist officially stood down after 21 days

David Kearns

Published 15/09/2015 | 18:01

Kilkee Bay where the search was centred. Inset: Male American and Japanese national Eiji Takagi (63) and female Japanese national Ushio Azaki (61)
Kilkee Bay where the search was centred. Inset: Male American and Japanese national Eiji Takagi (63) and female Japanese national Ushio Azaki (61)

Search efforts to find a missing Japanese tourist feared drowned off the coast of county Clare have been called off after 21 days.

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The Irish Coast Guard confirmed the search for Ushio Azaki (61) had been formally stood down this evening shortly after 5:30 pm.

The Japanese tourist and her partner Eiji Takagi (63) were last seen August 22 near Byrnes Cove in Kilkee.

The couple were due to fly home two days after their disappearance.

The body of Mr Takagi was found by divers from Kilkee Sub Aqua Club 17 days ago after he had been reported missing.

The intensive multi-agency search – which saw units from the Doolin, Ballybunnion and Kilkee Coast Guard work alongside divers from Civil Defence teams from Clare, Dublin, Laois and Tipperary and local dive clubs – had entered its 21st day on Tuesday.

Ushio Azaki and Eiji Takagi
Ushio Azaki and Eiji Takagi

It had been gradually scaled back in recent days, though it is understood that divers had carried out several underway searches over the last two days.

Air and coastal units carried out a final sweep of the coast from Kilkee to Mutton Island this afternoon, while diving teams from Kilkee and Ballybunnion undertook searches along the south shore of the Shannon Estuary.

“We’ve done everything we can,” said a spokesperson for the Kilkee Coast Guard

“The search has been going on for 21 days now and it’s time we formally stood it down.

“There’s nothing more we can do.

“Hopefully we can take what’s been learned over the last three weeks and apply it to future search efforts.”

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