Empty kayak sparks Lough Derg search

Empty kayak sparks Lough Derg search


Killaloe Coast Guard responded by water and by road – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2018

A major search was launched on Lough Derg in Co Clare this evening amid fears that a kayaker was missing or in difficulty.

At 7.45pm, the Irish Coast Guard received a report from concerned locals about a kayak adrift on the lake close to Mountshannon Harbour in East Clare.

The Killaloe unit of the Coast Guard was tasked to carry out a search of the area. A boat crew was launched from Killaloe while land search crews responded by road to Mountshannon Harbour.

A comprehensive search was carried out by Coast Guard crews however nothing was found. The search was called off about an hour later when emergency services were satisfied that no persons were missing and that no one had been reported overdue or missing.

The Kayak was recovered from the water and found to still had its paddle inside. Having spoken to local residents, it was established that some youths had been seen in the area earlier and the Kayak was most lightly released during the evening.

Emergency services at the scene at Lough Bunny in March – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

It was the second time in two months that emergency services were tasked to similar incidents in Clare.

In March, a major search was mounted on Lough Bunny near Boston in the north of the county on March 19th. It had been feared that a person may have been missing in the lake.

A search operation was mounted involving the Irish Coast Guard, An Garda Síochána, Gort Fire Service, National Ambulance Service. The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, was also tasked to the incident as well as the volunteer unit of the service from Doolin.

The operation was stood down a short time later after local inquiries established that the canoe may have been on the water for a time, possibly several months.

The Coast Guard warned at the time: “All boat owners should ensure that their vessels are properly secured when not in use. This request extends to smaller craft such as canoes and kayaks. When such equipment is seen to be drifting unattended it necessarily gives rise to genuine concern which can give rise to distracting the emergency services from  more pressing work.”

Both search operations were coordinated by watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry.

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.