Fishing tragedy victim laid to rest

The funeral of David Warnock leaves Mullabrack Parish Church on Monday afternoon
The funeral of David Warnock leaves Mullabrack Parish Church on Monday afternoon

Hundreds of mourners have attended the funeral of angling enthusiast David Warnock who died in last Thursday’s boat tragedy in Co Westmeath.

The 27-year-old Richhill father-of-one was rescued from the water along with John Trimble, 60, after their boat capsized, but later died in hospital.

Mr Trimble is recovering in hospital while a third man, Daryl Burke from Portadown, remains missing.

Around 800 people attended yesterday’s funeral service at Mullabrack Parish Church in Markethill.

As mourners gathered to pay their respects to the chairman of the Portadown Pikers Angling Club, the search for Mr Burke was stood down due to deteriorating weather on Lough Ree.

Rev Neville Hughes thanked God for the life of David and said “the whole country was saddened” at his passing. The reading was from Matthew chapter 14.

Mr Warnock’s fiancee Sandra Kerr had earlier paid tribute to the man she called “my soulmate, my life, my rock, my whole world, my every breath”.

In a tribute posted on her Facebook site, she said she did not know how her life, and that of her three-year-old son, would be without her beloved partner.

“Matthew’s daddy has been taken from us,” she said. “We need you so so much David Warnock. I love you with all my heart, from the top of my heart to the tips of my toes, just wish you were here with me.”

Before the search of Lough Ree was suspended yesterday police and divers were focusing on a number of points in the lough following sonar scans of the area in which the boat overturned almost a week ago.

More than 100 people, many of them volunteers as well as friends and family of the missing Portadown man, have helped with the search operation each day.

Information from Mr Trimble, who survived the tragedy, has been described as “invaluable” by the regional commander of the Northern Ireland Community Rescue Service, Sean McCarry.

It is understood that survivor Mr Trimble was able to confirm to gardai that all three men had become separated from the boat when it capsized in a strong wind.

He also said, according to RTE correspondent Ciaran Mullooly, that the anglers had all left the boat when they saw water coming into it and had attempted to get to shore using fishing equipment to stay afloat.

Mr McCarry added: “With this type of search those involved must be meticulous and it takes time, but the search will go on until we can make some kind of recovery.”