Thursday 20 October 2016

Family face anxious wait for news of missing Irishman

Breda Heffernan and Paul Healy

Published 29/04/2015 | 02:30

Displaced Families in Kathmandu, Nepal after the earthquake. Photo: Mark Condren
Displaced Families in Kathmandu, Nepal after the earthquake. Photo: Mark Condren
Sabita Nepal who was brought by helicopter to Bir Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: Mark Condren
Searching goes on in Kathmandu, Nepal after the earthquake hit the region. Photo: Mark Condren
Displaced families in Kathmandu, Nepal after the earthquake. Photo: Mark Condren
Paul Devaney, pictured at Everest base camp the evening before the earthquake.

The family of an Irishman missing in Nepal said they hope he is "standing up, brushing himself down and helping others".

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Thomas Drumm (55), originally from Monaghan but living in Brighton, England, has not contacted home since the devastating earthquake struck five days ago.

His cousin David Drumm last night said the family are still waiting anxiously for news.

"I've just checked my email and there has been absolutely nothing from him," said Mr Drumm last night.

"He was going to keep in touch on a daily basis. Tomorrow it will be one week since we have heard from him. His mobile phone is dead and he isn't into Facebook or Twitter.

"In normal times, he would check his emails every day because he has a business interest in Brighton, but he hasn't checked them.

"Hopefully he's standing up, brushing himself down and helping others."

Another Irishman, Ciaran Sands (55), who had been missing, yesterday made contact with his relieved family in Co Louth.

Writing on her Facebook page yesterday, his sister Clodagh, said: "Ciaran got a message out from Nepal, he is alive and well."

Dubliner Madelena Ryan (48), who was also listed as missing, has since been confirmed as safe.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said last night it has yet to make contact with 10 Irish citizens believed to be in Nepal.

Meanwhile, survivors of the quake have been speaking about their miraculous escapes.

Paul Devaney (37), from Longford, was one of several Irish people caught up in an avalanche triggered by the quake at Mount Everest's base camp last Saturday.

He was part of a group that was hit by a massive "wall of snow" that killed 17 people at the camp.

"After it had settled down and the shock had gone away, we came out of the tent and realised that, compared with the rest of the camp, we had only gotten a bit of a dusting," he told the Irish Independent.

"The rest of the camp was like a plane crash. There were tents blasted away, there was bodies and there were wounded everywhere," he said.

Fellow climber Dubliner Paul Greenan (38) was injured in the avalanche but has now been cleared to return home in the next 24 hours.

Mr Devaney said that the horror of what he had seen left him "determined" to never return to Everest.

"I saw a fellow expedition climber from America standing over the dead body of his girlfriend, and I just though 'Jesus, this is abnormal'.

"It was a pretty horrific couple of days," he said.

Mr Devaney said he was staying in Nepal to help with the relief effort.

Irish Independent

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