Tuesday 21 January 2020

Family clings to hope as fears grow for second man in fishing tragedy

A fishing trawler searches while taking part in the search for the missing fisherman off Hook Lighthouse in Co Wexford.
A fishing trawler searches while taking part in the search for the missing fisherman off Hook Lighthouse in Co Wexford.

Conor Feehan and Allison Bray

TRAGEDY has returned to the fishing communities of the south-east coast once more with one fisherman dead and another missing, feared drowned.

The history of sea tragedies and the loss of life hangs heavy along these shores, from the vessels such as the Pere Charles and the Honeydew II to the Maggie B and the Rising Sun.

At the weekend the small fishing boat, the Alize, was added to this roll-call of grief off the Wexford coast.

Joe Sinnott (65), a father-of-four and a grandfather-of-nine, and Willie Whelan, who got married just five months ago, were fishing for scallops.

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The two men had no time to radio for assistance when the Alize sank a short distance off Hook Head on Saturday night and an emergency beacon raised the alarm.

Mr Sinnott was plucked from the sea by rescuers but died later in hospital.

His son Michael told the Irish Independent: "We really don't know what happened. It's too early to tell.

"It's hard to believe. He was so many years at sea, and the man who was with him too, so whatever happened wasn't down to a lack of experience."

The search for Mr Whelan was called off at 4.30pm yesterday as winter darkness descended on the Wexford coast.

It will resume this morning at first light. Local councillor Michael Whelan said the man's family were "distraught" and "just holding out hope for a rescue or recovery".

Irish Independent

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