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Lough Ree search for Daryl continues after boat recovered

Lough Ree Lifeboat searching for missing Armagh angler Daryl Burke.

Lough Ree Lifeboat searching for missing Armagh angler Daryl Burke.

 

The boat used by missing Portadown angler Daryl Burke was recovered and taken away from Lough Ree in Co Westmeath last night.

The search made significant progress with the discovery of the missing boat around 7.30pm on Monday night.

As a result, search teams were able to narrow their focus yesterday to a very specific area in the lough where they hoped to find Mr Burke.

However, despite a further day’s work the search finished late last night without success.

The Irish navy yesterday spent their first day as part of the search to recover the Portadown father’s body after he and two friends capsized during a sudden squall on March 20.

David Warnock, 27, from Richhill was rescued but died a few hours later in hospital. John Trimble, 60, is recovering from his injuries.

Sean McCarry of the Northern Ireland Community Rescue Service is part of the rescue effort.

“The boat has been recovered and taken away,” he told the News Letter late last night. “The Irish navy have spent their first day as part of the search and have been working alongside the Garda divers all day.

They are very good and are highly specialised.”

He said the navy had carried the rescue service’s sonar equipment, helping to take images of the bottom of the lough.

The last of the divers got out of the water at 7.30pm yesterday but sonar searches continued until 9.30pm.

“The boat was found much further south west than anyone imagined,” said Mr McCarry.

“We have found a debris trail of their angling equipment on the bottom over the past number of days.”

He said the boat, a 12-foot open hulled vessel with an outboard engine, was not damaged.

“We are still carrying on the search tomorrow [Wednesday].

“The family are holding up very well but obviously this is a very trying and protracted process for anyone to endure,” he added.

Lough Ree in Co Westmeath is prone to sudden dangerous squalls, a rescue expert said last night.

Three Co Armagh anglers capsized during just such weather on March 20. David Warnock, 27, above, from Richhill was rescued but died a few hours later in hospital. John Trimble, 60, survived while searches continue for Daryl Burke.

Sean McCarry, of Northern Ireland Community Rescue Service, who is taking part in the search effort, said last night that any small vessel on Lough Ree could be at risk from sudden squalls.

“Lough Ree is 43 square miles of open and relatively shallow water,” he said. “There are no hills, trees or buildings to break the high winds.

“So when the winds blow up they can really have quite a sudden impact on small vessels.”

 

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