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Body recovered in search for fisherman missing for almost three weeks

Divers taking part in a search for 41-year-old missing fisherman William 'Willie' Whelan have recovered a body which is now on board the Irish Lights Vessel, Granuaille.

Naval Service and Garda divers today resumed an operation to recover the body of the fisherman from the wreckage of the Alize trawler off the coast of Co Wexford.

A body was spotted on Wednesday by divers at the wreckage of the 12 metre vessel.

Recovering the body proved to be difficult because of the large amount of debris around the trawler which sank earlier this month off Hook Head.

RTÉ South East Correspondent, Conor Kane, told the News at One that shortly before midday divers succeeded in bringing the body to the surface.

"The body is now on board the Irish Lights Vessel. It is expected to be brought to shore this evening.

"It will then be transferred to hospital for formal identification and a postmortem."

Gardaí and Naval divers were assisted in recent days by members of local Sub Aqua Units and the LE James Joyce.

The search has been supported by the Waterford-based Coast Guard helicopter and the Air Corps CASA marine surveillance aircraft.

Mr Whelan and his fellow fisherman, Joe Sinnott died when their trawler Alize sank around 8km off Hook Head on January 4.

Missing fisherman William Whelan

Mr Sinnott, 65, was recovered from the sea but died shortly after being airlifted to University Hospital

Waterford (UHW).

The sinking of the Alize was detected when the trawler's Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon suddenly went off.

The men were unable to raise the alarm such was the speed at which the sinking occurred.

At Joe Sinnott's funeral mass his son, Michael, said the spirit of his father was now trying to guide the recovery operation for his great pal Willie.

Mr Whelan only got married last year.

The men were scallop fishing when the trawler sank in unexplained circumstances.