The search for a Japanese woman, missing and feared drowned off the Clare coast, is continuing for a ninth day today with further land and sea searches taking place.
Ushio Azaki (61) was last seen on Saturday August 22nd after she and her partner, Eiji Takagi (63), parked their rental car at Byrnes Cove in Kilkee.
The car was only reported to gardaí on Tuesday (25th) when it was noticed that it hadn’t been moved since first being seen the previous day.
Searches for the pair commenced later that day on on Sunday, Mr Takagi’s body of was recovered by divers from Kilkee Sub Aqua Club. The remains were found in about 27m (88ft) of water near George’s Head. The same club was due to carry out further dives last evening (Tuesday).
It’s understood that following a post mortem examination on Monday, Mr Takagi’s body has been formally identified and his family informed of the news. Mr Takagi held both US and Japanese passports.
Yesterday’s searches for Ms Azaki were concentrated in the same area with naval service personnel undertaking several dives during the day.
Irish Coast Guard and Clare Civil Defence volunteers also spent several hours carrying out surface searches in the the Kilkee Bay area for any sign of the missing woman or personal belongings.
On Monday, a shoe believed to belong to Ms Azaki, was found washed up on the beach at Kilkee by local authority workers.
An item of underwear was discovered yesterday (Tuesday) however it was soon ruled out as being from the missing woman.
Representatives from the Japanese Embassy in Dublin visited Kilkee on Monday and are expected to return again today (Wednesday).
It’s also known the the US Embassy has been in contact with the Coast Guard to express it’s gratitude for the continuing search effort.
Irish Coast Guard volunteers have been spending up to 14 hours a day involved in searches with many personnel taking time off from their own jobs to do so.
Local people and businesses as far away as Doonbeg, have been delivering food to the Coast Guard station at Kilkee to show their appreciation for the work search teams have been doing.
Kilkee Coast Guard officer in charge Martony Vaughan said: “Conditions have been better in recent days and we’ve been carrying out surface searches while naval divers have been diving in the area of Georges Head. The navy will carry out further dives on Wednesday and the surface searches will also continue.”