Garda divers recover second body from Clare sea in under 24 hours

The body was spotted from the cliff top at Aill Na Searrach, part of the Cliffs of Moher, yesterday afternoon
Garda divers recover second body from Clare sea in under 24 hours

Patrick Flynn

A body has been recovered from the sea off Co Clare this afternoon, the second in less than 24 hours.

While formal identification of the remains has to be determined, it is believed that the body recovered today is that of the second of two men reported missing since April 1st.

Irish Coast Guard volunteers from Doolin and the crew of the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115, had been conducting searches for a man since he was reported missing on Wednesday. It is understood he had not been seen since last Sunday.

Yesterday afternoon, a body was spotted from the cliff top at Aill Na Searrach, part of the Cliffs of Moher. Volunteers from Doolin Coast Guard launched a drone to investigate the discovery and confirmed the presence of a body.

Gardaí requested divers from the Garda Water Unit (GWU) to travel to Clare to carry out a recovery operation. That effort got under way this morning after two teams of Garda divers arrived in Doolin.

Two GWU boats departed Doolin Pier at around 10.20am in what would be an over two-hour operation to recover the body. Divers swam ashore to the location at the base of the cliff while a Coast Guard drone operator directed the divers from the cliff top.

At around 12.30pm the divers safely recovered the body and transported the remains to Doolin Pier where they were met by local gardaí, Coast Guard volunteers, a doctor and priest.

When the man was formally pronounced dead his body was removed by hearse to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination will be carried out later.

Second body

Meanwhile, not long after the body recovered today was first observed on Thursday afternoon, a second body was spotted in the water about two kilometres south of the initial discovery.

The crew of Rescue 115 had been conducting a search of the area when they spotted the body. The Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat was tasked to assist in the recovery operation.

The volunteer lifeboat crew lifted the body from the sea about a kilometre south of O’Brien’s tower at around 6.15pm. The remains were transported to the pier at Doolin where Coast Guard volunteers recovered the remains to their nearby base.

The man was formally pronounced dead and his body removed to University Hospital Limerick were a post-mortem examination will be carried out.

An initial search for the first of two men was conducted at the Cliffs of Moher late on Friday night last amid fears that a person may have entered the sea. The alarm was raised at around 11.30pm after a car was located in a carpark at the popular tourist attraction.

Doolin Coast Guard was tasked to undertake an initial search of the area around the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre and surrounding pathways. The Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter was also requested to assist in the search, however all teams were stood down when there was no trace of any person.

Over the coming days, the search was hampered by poor weather until it resumed yesterday.

Gardaí are treating both deaths as ‘personal tragedies’ and will prepare separate files for the coroner who will hold inquests at a later date.

Both searches were coordinated locally by gardaí while the air and sea searches were coordinated by watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry.

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