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Sunday 22 April 2018

Trawler tragedy: Body found in search near wreck

Mary O'Driscoll, cousin of missing Kevin Kershaw, lights candles for him on Union Hall pier yesterday as the search for victims of the trawler tragedy continues
Abigail, the younger sister of missing Kevin Kershaw, lights candles for him on Union Hall pier yesterday
Naval and garda divers at the wreck site

Ed Carty

THE body of an Egyptian fisherman who drowned with four other crewmen in the Tit Bonhomme trawler tragedy has been found. A Garda dive team searching the rocky seabed beside the wreck on Adam's island, west Cork, made the discovery.

On the fifth day of a massive land and sea search operation in Glandore bay, the man's body was discovered as divers, including a Navy unit, took advantage of a weather window.

An Irish Coast Guard spokesman confirmed the body had been recovered mid-morning and was believed to be one of the Egyptian fishermen.

It is understood formal identification will take place after the man's body is brought ashore and relatives and friends on the pier at Union Hall have been briefed.

Search coordinators have brought in a remote operated vehicle fitted with specialist camera equipment to examine the shattered wheelhouse of the boat and debris strewn around the wreckage including nets.

It was also used to inspect treacherous rocks and crevices around Adam's island near where the boat ran aground.

Weather conditions have changed significantly in the last 24-36 hours with winds shifting to the west and north-west, helping to ease the impact of Atlantic swells and make the search safer for divers.

Search teams at sea, including the specialist dive units, and on land are expected to continue throughout the day amid fears the weather will close in again tomorrow. They have yet to get divers into the wreck of the trawler.

The crew included skipper Michael Hayes, from Helvic head where he founded a lifeboat station, 21-year-old Kevin Kershaw, who was working his first deep sea fishing shift and putting off emigration to Australia, and four experienced Egyptian fishermen from the Alexandria region. They have been named as Wael Abd Elgwad, Saied Ali Eldin and Attia Shaban and the only survivor, Wael's brother Mohammed.

The body recovered was that of Attia Shaban, 26.

It is understood he had been living in Ireland for about two years but it is not believed he had any relatives living with him.

Garda dive teams brought his remains ashore at the pier at Union Hall where an area had been cordoned off and a tent erected to give families, friends and the only survivor time to pay their respects.

In an emotional tribute, a large group of Egyptians, who have been in the Glandore area since the tragedy, gathered as the body was being removed and offered Muslim prayers for almost 10 minutes.

Irish Independent

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