Tragedy hasn’t deterred shore anglers

Tragedy hasn’t deterred shore anglers

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Shore anglers fishing form rocks near the Blue Pool on Monday – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

People continued to take their lives in their hands at a notoriously dangerous fishing spot in Co Clare as the search continued for a Russian man washed into the sea on Saturday.

The fearless shore anglers cast their rods into rough seas close to the treacherous Blue Pool just a few hundred metres from where garda divers searched for the missing man.

The angler in his 40’s, who had been living in Limerick, was fishing from a low ledge at the Blue Pool near Doonbeg in West Clare. It’s understood he was struck by a rogue wave which washed him into the sea.

The man’s friend tried to save him but was unable to do so. It’s believed he then panicked and drove over 60kms to Limerick where told friends who raised the alarm.

As Coast Guard teams from Kilkee and Killaloe patrolled the cliff tops yesterday, they could only watch helplessly as a group of four people clambered out onto a rocky head despite waves crashing around them. As water rushed onto the rocks behind them, all four left the area finally realising the danger. A short time later, the rocky outcrop was completely covered by the incoming tide.

Members of the Kilkee and Killaloe units of the Coast Guard carried out cliff top and shore line searches – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

On Sunday morning, when Coast Guard members arrived to recommence their search, they met a group of men who had been fishing from at the location. The men, who are believed to have camped nearby overnight, are thought to have gone fishing at first light apparently unaware of the previous days tragedy.

Later in the day, another group of people was asked to move away from the area as the search for the missing man continued. The group, believed to be Eastern European, included a young child.

Meanwhile, the wife and sister of the missing man visited the scene of the search yesterday. They were accompanied by gardaí from Kilrush and stayed in the area for a time observing the diving operation.

A Doolin Coast Guard searching a cove at the Blue Pool – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Members of the Garda Water Unit carried out a number of dives in the area yesterday while a boat from Doolin Coast Guard searched small coves and inlets.

Clare Civil Defence has also been requested to assist in the search by providing small unmanned aircraft (SUA). The team has a number of members trained in drone operations and have assist in several searches since the technology was introduced.

The ongoing operation, which is being coordinated by staff at the marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island, has to date involved Coast Guard units from Kilkee, Doolin and Killaloe as well as the Garda Water Unit, Rescue 115 and divers from sub aqua clubs from Ennis, Burren, Kilkee, Limerick and Lough Derg.

The search is expected to resume this morning with Naval Service divers due to arrive in Clare.

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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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