Friday 9 December 2016

Search teams looking for missing Japanese national 'hopeful' of discovery today

Published 31/08/2015 | 08:33

CCTV images of missing Japanese couple Eiji Takagi and Ushio Azaki
CCTV images of missing Japanese couple Eiji Takagi and Ushio Azaki
Members of the Coast Guard launch a search and rescue boat in an attempt to find the missing tourists Eiji Takagi and Ushio Azaki in Kilkee, Co Clare. Photo: Press 22

Search teams looking for a woman who has been missing off the Clare coast for over a week are 'hopeful' they will discover her remains today.

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The underwater and surface sea search for Japanese national Ushio Azaki (61) continues after the body of her partner American and Japanese national Eiji Takagi (63) was recovered from the water at around noon yesterday.

The tourist couple checked out of hotel accommodation in Spanish Point, Co Clare on the morning of Saturday, August 22, and had not been seen since.

They had hired a car at Shannon airport and stayed at a number of lodgings along the west coast before the vehicle was seen parked at George's Head over the course of several days.

CCTV images of missing Japanese couple Eiji Takagi and Ushio Azaki
CCTV images of missing Japanese couple Eiji Takagi and Ushio Azaki

The Irish Coast Guard unit in Kilkee said Mr Takagi's body was recovered at about midday on Saturday in water off George's Head, Co Clare, a popular scenic spot overlooking the Atlantic, by divers from Kilkee and Burren sub aqua clubs.

It is understood Mr Takagi's body was found below the cliff in water about 27m deep. A post-mortem will be carried out on his remains today.

A CCTV still of Japanese tourists Eiji Takagi, 63, and Ushio Azaki, 61, who have vanished from George's Head in Kilkee, Co Clare (An Garda Siochana/PA)
A CCTV still of Japanese tourists Eiji Takagi, 63, and Ushio Azaki, 61, who have vanished from George's Head in Kilkee, Co Clare (An Garda Siochana/PA)

Speaking to RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, Chief Officer Kilkee Coast Guard Martony Vaughan said the search team are hopeful that they will discover the remains of Ushio Azaki today.

"The search has been very difficult because we have had no point of entry in the water, we had no last sightings apart from the car parked in the Byrne's Cove area," Mr Vaughan said.

Members of the Coast Guard launch a search and rescue boat in an attempt to find the missing tourists Eiji Takagi and Ushio Azaki in Kilkee, Co Clare. Photo: Press 22
Members of the Coast Guard launch a search and rescue boat in an attempt to find the missing tourists Eiji Takagi and Ushio Azaki in Kilkee, Co Clare. Photo: Press 22

"We just carried on as normal as if we had a point of entry, we have been searching the coastline continuously since last Tuesday and the search is continuing this morning.

"I would this morning be hopeful that we'll be successful in finding the second body.

"We had put so much effort into the search we were starting to lose a bit of hope, we hadn't found anything and we had searched the area extensively with dogs, drones, you name it.

"It was an extensive search all week and it was again yesterday."

Along with search and rescue teams from Lough Derg, Ennis and Aughinish local coast guard units from Kilkee, Doolin and Ballybunion are involved in the week-long search along with Civil Defence teams from Clare and Laois.

Authorities have been in contact with the Embassy of Japan in Dublin.

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