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Friday 24 November 2017

Man's body found in search for missing sailor after boating accident

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

RESCUE officials searching for a missing sailor following a west Cork yacht accident have recovered a body.

The discovery came after 12 hour search operation when a seven metre yacht (21ft) was reported overdue and missing in Roaringwater Bay in Schull.

The yacht had three sailors on board, two men and a woman, all aged in their late 60s and early 70s.

Two, a man and a woman, were found safe on isolated Castle Island at 6am today (Thursday) in Roaringwater Bay.

However, the third man, in his late 60s, was still missing and the search continued for him.

Shortly before 8am rescue officials found a body in Roaringwater Bay, not far from where the yacht is believed to have foundered.

However, formal identification of the body and confirmation that the remains are those of the missing sailor will take some time.

It is believed their seven metre yacht may have struck a submerged rock as it sailed around a locate island before intending to head back to Schull.

The three sailors were left in the icy waters and two, a man and a woman, miraculously managed to swim to an isolated rocky island.

The two sailors were located on Castle Island at 6am by the Schull-based rescue boat and were immediately taken for medical treatment.

Both were treated for hypothermia and for mild shock and are expected to be transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

However, the third sailor, a man in his late 60s, didn't make it ashore.

The search operation was led by the Irish Coastguard’s Shannon-based Sikorsky helicopter, Rescue 115, as well as a number of RNLI craft.

These include the Baltimore all-weather lifeboat and the inshore search vessel as well as community rescue boats from Schull and Goleen.

The search was being co-ordinated through the Irish Coastguard’s Valentia operations centre.

Fishing vessels and other yachts in the west Cork area also joined the search for the missing yacht.

Weather conditions off west Cork were described as ideal at the time with calm seas and good visibility.

The yacht was equipped with full safety equipment as well as an inflatable dinghy.

Rescue officials said there was no sign of an emergency flare being fired or a radio distress signal.

The seven metre (21ft) yacht was cruising off Baltimore and Schull and was due in port at 8pm.

The alarm was raised when the three sailors failed to arrive as planned for a dinner with friends.

All three are understood to have been holidaying in west Cork where the regatta season is now in full swing.

The search operation continued into darkness with the Sikorskey conducting sweeps of isolated coves and inlets using its infra-red cameras.

All efforts to contact the vessel via marine VHF radio failed.

Coincidentally, the search began as the RNLI and Irish Coastguard were also searching for an open vessel with four people on board which was reported overdue at Schull.

That craft, which had dropped two people off before continuing on its journey, ran late and the alarm was raised.

Two of those on board were children.

However, the vessel was located before 10pm with all four occupants safe and well.

They were totally unaware that a search operation was underway for their vessel.

Irish Independent

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