Ground-mapping radar on standby in search for Tina
Gardaí have heavy excavating equipment and ground-mapping radar on standby as the search for missing Tina Satchwel (45) intensifies in a Cork forest.
Mitchel's Wood outside Castlemartyr in east Cork is cordoned off as a 60-strong specialist search team, supported by Defence Forces engineers and canine units, trawl through 40 acres of forestry for clues as to Tina's whereabouts.
Supt Colm Noonan of Midleton garda station, who is leading the operation, said searches will continue for the next three weeks.
Tina vanished from her Youghal home on March 20 last year.
Despite a huge search operation and repeated Garda public appeals for information, no trace of Tina has been found.
She was not seen on thousands of hours of CCTV security camera footage analysed, and no trace of her was found at any Irish or UK port and airport.
The current search followed a phone call to gardaí from a member of the public after the broadcast last January of an RTé 'PrimeTime' special on Tina's disappearance.
That indicated activity was seen in the vicinity of Mitchel's Wood which may be significant to the Garda investigation.
A specific vehicle was noted in the area - and a woman, with blonde hair matching Tina's description, was also spotted.
Gardaí determined the information was "reliable and credible" and decided to order a major search of Mitchel's Wood.
More than 100 metres of steel security fencing has been erected to cordon-off the entrance to the wood.
That has been covered in black plastic sheeting to guard the privacy of what searchers are doing.
A portacabin was brought to the site to act as a resource centre for the search team, as well as portable toilets, heavy industrial generators and lighting units.
A Garda incident command vehicle is also deployed on site.
A team from Search Dogs UK is helping the Garda operation, as well as Defence Force engineering units.
"There have been 220 separate lines of inquiry conducted. This has included liaison with Interpol and we are now conducting a search at Mitchel's Wood," Supt Noonan explained.
The woods have now been divided into various search zones.
Tina's husband, Richard Satchwell, was briefed by gardaí in advance of the operation.
Mr Satchwell, an English-born truck driver, said he was "shocked" by the development.
"I was sick in the stomach with worry [when they contacted me]. I am still hoping Tina will be found safe and well.
"I didn't sleep a wink last night. I am hoping that Tina is out there and she is going to get in touch," he said.