Search to resume for missing Belfast man

Search to resume for missing Belfast man

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Members of Doolin Coast Guard searching the coastline near Fanore – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

The search for a Belfast man missing in Co Clare since Monday was stepped up yesterday with drone technology being deployed to scan the shoreline and sea.

The 22-year-old failed to return to his tour bus which had stopped at Ballyreen on the the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route between Fanore and Lisdoonvarna.

The tour group got off the bus to enjoy the Burren and Atlantic scenery and the man was last seen at about 12.30pm. The alarm was raised however at around 2.30pm when he hadn’t returned to his coach at the designated time.

Gardaí went to the scene to meet the bus driver and when there was still no sign of the man, assistance was requested from the Irish Coast Guard who quickly mounted and land, sea and air search.

The Shannon based search and rescue helicopter carried out sweeps of the area as well as along cliff paths as far south as the Cliffs of Moher and north to Black Head.

Rescue 115 carrying out a search of the coastline – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

The Doolin Coast Guard boat was launched and carried out a search parallel to the shore while land based teams walked to the cliff top and shoreline.

When nothing was found on Monday night, the search was stood down until first light yesterday.

It had been hoped that the young man might have wandered off and lost track of time or maybe got lost while walking through the Burren.

When the search resumed yesterday, Coast Guard search teams were joined by volunteers from Clare Civil Defence.

Clare Civil Defence volunteer Mark Hayes waits to recover a drone following a search – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Personnel launched a Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA), or drone, to scan the coastline, local beaches and surrounding lands in the hope of finding some trace of the missing man.

Weather conditions were too poor however to launch the Coast Guard boats while the weather over the coming days is also expected to deteriorate.

At around 6.00pm, as darkness fell, the search was called off for the night but was due to resume this morning.

A Coast Guard spokesman said: “We walked the coastline north and south of where this man was last seen. Conditions were worse than Monday night and not expected to improve. We will resume the search at 9am on Wednesday.”

The search is being coordinated by An Garda with the assistance to the Irish Coast Guard and Clare Civil Defence.

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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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