Strong gales forced the Irish Coast Guard to abandon it’s search for a man feared drowned off the Co Clare coast.
The alarm was raised in the early hours of yesterday morning when gardaí were notified that a 34-year-old man had left his home and travelled to the area of Loophead Peninsula.
The Polish national is understood to have been living in Killaloe on the opposite side of the county. His car was located in the carpark at the Loop Head lighthouse by gardaí who had been searching the remote area.
The Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue coordination centre at Valentia in Co Kerry was alerted amid fears for the man’s safety.
At around 4.30am, the Kilkee unit of the Coast Guard was contacted and requested to proceed to the area to assist gardaí in the search.
It had been hoped the man may have lost his way and was still in the area however after a comprehensive search there was no sign of him.
Weather conditions at the time were described as ‘atrocious’ with heavy rain and violent gusts and considered too dangerous for the Coast Guard to launch it’s rescue boat.
Search teams carried out a search of lands and cliff tops in the vicinity of the lighthouse and were said to have been ‘challenged’ by the strong winds.
The Shannon based search and rescue helicopter joined the search at first light however conditions had not improved.
At around 9.30am, with no sign of the missing man, the search was stood down as conditions were deemed too dangerous. Search teams were ready to return to the area in the afternoon at ‘low water’ however conditions failed to improve and the search effort was abandoned for the day.
While winds were expected to temporarily die down this morning the forecast is for winds of up to 100kmh tonight and Monday.
While Irish Coast Guard volunteers remained on standby to resume the search, a decision wasn’t expect until early today on whether it was safe to do so.