24/05/2010

Search Launched For Missing Men Off Waterford

Emergency services are scouring the coast of Waterford after two men were reported missing from the area yesterday afternoon.

Air, sea and coastline searches are involved in the search for the two Tipperary men identified as John O'Brien and Pat Esmonde, both in their mid-30s.

According to reports this morning, the two men had driven from south Tipperary to Helvick on the Ring Peninsula to go angling for mackerel in a dinghy.

A local witness told gardaí that before 5pm he had set off after seeing one of the men in the water near the dinghy calling for help, three-quarters of a mile from the coast. However, when he got to the boat, both men had disappeared and he found two lifejackets the dinghy.

Sea conditions had been very calm all afternoon.

A team of nine divers from the naval service is preparing to make a dive at the last known location where two men went missing.

Weather conditions are quite favourable for diving at present but are expected to change in the afternoon.

After an initial assessment, the divers hope to be in the water after 11.30am.

The search and rescue helicopter from Waterford is also at the scene but visibility is poor due to low-lying cloud and fog.

Relatives of the two missing men are in Helvick, Co Waterford.

(DW)


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