Friday 21 September 2018

Drones banned from flying over woods being searched for missing Tina Satchwell

Tina Satchwell
Tina Satchwell
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Drones have been banned from flying over the 40 acre woodland in east Cork being searched for Tina Satchwell's whereabouts.

Detectives are determined to preserve the privacy of what searchers are doing at Mitchel's Wood - and even erected more than 100m of black plastic sheeting across the security fencing in front of the site entrance.

Ms Satchwell (45) has not been seen since March 24 2017 and gardai began searching the woods on Monday for traces of the missing Youghal woman after they received a tip-off from a "credible witness".

Supt Colm Noonan has urged people to stay away from Mitchel's Wood while the 60-strong search team are working there.

The search site is just over 200m from the east Cork village and located just off the main Cork-Waterford road.

People have been warned not to attempt to fly drones, particularly drones equipped with cameras, over the sprawling site which is just off the Castlemartyr-Garryvoe road.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has since granted an application for a temporary no fly zone over the specific site involved.

A spokesman for the IAA said in a statement released to Independent.ie: "In relation to this matter, we are acceding to a request from The Department of Justice and Equality.

Teams set up area to begin search connected to investigation of missing woman Tina Satchwell
Teams set up area to begin search connected to investigation of missing woman Tina Satchwell

"A temporary restricted area (TRA) has been put in place. A TRA is an airspace of defined dimensions above the land areas or territorial waters of a State, within which the flight of aircraft (including drones) is restricted in accordance with specific conditions. (ICAO Annex 2: Rules of the Air)

"Drones may be subject to seizure by An Garda Siochana as evidence for potential prosecution and in the interest of Aviation Safety.

"Penalties for the illegal operation of drones are entirely a matter for judiciary following prosecution."

The restriction will remain in place until 10pm on March 20.

Ms Satchwell's husband Richard has said that he doesn't think that she would have gone into the woods.

Speaking on RTE's Prime Time last night, he said: "I don't believe Tina has ever been there. The only wood she ever trusted to go to is just outside Fermoy.

Richard Satchwell, Tina’s husband, pictured at Youghal Harbour
Richard Satchwell, Tina’s husband, pictured at Youghal Harbour

"I just know, and I can vouch for this now, Tina would not go near those woods on her own or in the company of anybody. She wouldn't even go near strange woods with me."

Gardai received information from a witness who claimed that they saw a blonde-haired woman matching Ms Satchwell's appearance in the vicinity of Mitchel's Wood last year.

The witness claimed the woman was accompanied by someone by someone but did not see her leave the area.

Mr Satchwell has said that he left their home in Youghal on March 20 last year to run an errand and when he got back his wife wasn't there.

He has repeatedly said that he was not involved in his wife's disappearance.

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