Kilkee search to wind down after weekend

Kilkee search to wind down after weekend


Naval Divers
Naval divers carried out several underway searches a day – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

The search for a Japanese woman, feared drowned off the Clare coast, will continue through the weekend at least before the operation will be wound down.

The intensive multi-agency search will enter it’s twelfth day today but has been gradually sacled back in recent days with still no further trace of Ushio Azaki (61).

The body of her partner, Eiji Takagi (63), was found last Sunday in about 27m (88ft) of water near George’s Head by divers from Kilkee Sub Aqua Club.

The pair were last seen a fortnight ago today after they parked their rental car at Byrnes Cove in Kilkee. However, gardaí were only contacted about the vehicle three days later when it was noticed that it hadn’t been moved in several days.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
Clare Civil Defence personnel carrying out of Byrnes Cove – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

It’s believed the couple had gone for a walk along the picturesque cliffs walks at Georges Head and Chimney Bay when tragedy struck. While still not clear what happened to the pair, there has been speculation that they may have climbed down onto rocks below the cliffs and were washed into the sea.

Last weekend, the search was intensified when Irish Coast Guard units from Kilkee, Doolin and Ballybunnion in Kerry were joined by Civil Defence teams from Clare, Dublin, Laois and Tipperary.

Drone technology and specially trained cadaver dogs were also used for the first time in Co Clare last weekend.

Technical support staff from the national headquarters of Civil Defence deployed drones in the search for the missing Japenese couple feared lost in Kilkee Co Clare.
Technical support staff from Civil Defence national HQ deployed drones in the search – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

On Monday, a shoe believed to belong to Ms Azaki, was found washed up on the beach at Kilkee by local authority workers.

Members of the Naval Service Diving Section arrived in Clare on Monday and carried out several searches a day until Thursday before standing down.

Despite over a week of underwater searches by members of the Naval service and several local sub aqua clubs, no further trace of the missing woman has been found.

Kilkee Coast Guard officer in charge Martony Vaughan said: “The operation has been scaled back but we will continue to carry out low water searches over the weekend. Diving has not finished but we will continued to carry out lower water and surface searches if the sea conditions allow. We are very grateful to the Naval Service and all the voluntary groups and dive clubs who have been involved in the search.”

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.