The Irish Coast Guard has issued a warning to the public planning on taking part in a search for a missing man in west Clare to remain away from the coast.
The search for a 34-year-old Polish man, feared drowned off the Clare coast, has been hampered by extreme and dangerous weather conditions including winds of up to 100 kmh.
The alarm was raised in the early hours of Saturday morning when gardaí were notified that the man had left his home in Kilalloe to travel to the Loophead Peninsula area.
Following a search gardaí located the man’s car in the carpark at Loop Head lighthouse however there was no sign of anyone in the 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 on Saturday, the Kilkee unit of the Coast Guard was contacted and requested to proceed to the area to assist gardaí in the search.
Following that early morning search a later effort was abandoned after strong winds posed a serious risk to volunteers search crews.
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.
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 on Saturday however at around 9.30am, with no sign of the missing man, the search was stood down because of the conditions.
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.
The search and rescue helicopter undertook a further search early yesterday however it was still too dangerous for land teams to go near the cliffs.
Volunteers from the Kilkee unit braved the elements yesterday afternoon and carried out further searches in the Loop Head area.
A Coast Guard spokesman said: “The conditions are really difficult and too dangerous at times to be anywhere near the cliffs. The helicopter also found conditions challenging. We are keeping a close eye on the forecast and are ready to resume the search once conditions allow.”
A Met Éireann Status Orange weather alert from for the west coast warned of winds of 70kmh and gusts greater than 110kmh while conditions are expected to worsen today.
The Coast Guard warned: “Conditions are not expected to improve for a few days so anyone planning to travel to the area to help in the search should stay well away from the cliffs and speak to the Coast Guard or gardaí before travelling to the area. It’s far too dangerous for anyone to be out there.”