Garda divers to attempt body recovery

Garda divers to attempt body recovery

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
Irish Coast Guard personnel assess the scene at the Cliffs of Moher – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

Garda divers were due in Co Clare last night ahead of a second attempt to recover a body from the base of the Cliffs of Moher today.

The body of a woman was spotted on the shoreline about 600ft beneath the viewing platform at the cliffs at lunchtime on Monday.

While there were hundreds of tourists visiting the world famous cliffs at the time it’s not known whether anyone saw the woman fall.

The Irish Coast Guard marine rescue coordination centre at Valentia Island in Co Kerry mounted an operation to investigate a report of a person falling from the cliffs.

Gardaí and members of the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard went to the scene to investigate the report and quickly confirmed that a body could be seen on the rocky shoreline below.

Conditions at the time were too rough to attempt a recovery operation by boat so search teams could only assess the situation from the cliff top.

Late on Monday night, divers from the Garda Water Unit managed to swim ashore in rough conditions as the scene was illuminated by spot lighting and flares. The Shannon based rescue helicopter also hovered overhead using it’s power lights to light up the area.

The divers were unable to recover the remains however and had to be pulled out as sea conditions deteriorated.

While a piece of clothing was discovered at the cliffs no form of identification was found with it. The woman’s movements are also unclear and may have arrived at the cliffs by bus.

Gardaí are still trying to establish the woman’s identity and her movements while it’s understood to no person has been reported missing.

With a recovery operation could not be mounted yesterday the Shannon rescue helicopter visited the area twice to assess the situation and check whether the body had been moved with the tide.

Coast Guard volunteers and gardaí also visited the scene but could only assess the situation from the cliff top above.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
Irish Coast Guard personnel at the Cliffs of Moher on Tuesday – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

While the woman’s body is understood to have been dislodged and moved by the sea since first spotted, rescue teams are hopeful they can recover the remains before they are washed out to sea

A garda spokesman said: “We are still working to identify this person and our inquiries are continuing. We are investigating several lines and are continuing to examine the circumstances of this tragedy.”

Divers from the Garda Water Unit are expected to return to the scene this morning (Wednesday) along with volunteers from the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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