Saturday 21 April 2018

Hundreds join search for soldier swept out to sea on Tuesday

File picture of Coastguard helicopter
File picture of Coastguard helicopter

Greg Harkin

HUNDREDS of people have now joined a massive sea, land and air search for a solider missing off the Co Donegal coast since Tuesday.

More than 120 colleagues of the missing Defence Forces corporal have been joined by colleagues from the naval service and Air Corps.

RNLI and Coast Guard teams have also been joined by volunteers from the Donegal Mountain Rescue Team as well as the Garda Underwater Unit as the search to recover the soldier was extended today.

The missing corporal was swept out to sea after getting into difficulty at Tullan Strand in Bundoran around 6pm on Tuesday.

He is based in Athlone but had been attending an overseas deployment course at Finner Camp, outside Ballyshannon.

Two other soldiers from 2nd Field Artillery Regiment based at Custume Barracks were rescued during the incident.

The search was intensified this afternoon and extended further up the coast towards Rossnowlagh.

Inland Fisheries Ireland vessels and a number of fishermen have also joined the search.

An RNLI spokesman said there is a determination among those involved in the operation to recover the soldier from the sea.

Derek Flanagan from Malin Head Coast Guard said conditions had improved today.

“We will continue the search operation from 7am to 9pm each day until hopefully its conclusion,” he said.

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