Divers and sonar technology deployed in search for missing men in Ennis

Divers And Sonar Technology Deployed In Search For Missing Men In Ennis
The two men have been missing since last Saturday and Tuesday respectively.
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Pat Flynn

The search for two men feared lost in a river in Co Clare following separate incidents resumed on Saturday morning.

Divers from the search and recovery units of four sub-aqua clubs joined the search for two men who have been missing since last Saturday and Tuesday respectively. Members of Galway Civil Defence also travelled to Clare with a boat fitted with sonar equipment.


The first of two multi-agency search and rescue operations was mounted last Sunday when a man in his 60s was reported missing from his home in Ennis since the previous night.

Gardaí mounted an initial search and later requested additional assistance from the Irish Coast Guard who dispatched the volunteer unit from Kilkee station, as well as the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter.

Rescue 115 carried out a search of the area but was forced to abandon the effort because of poor visibility. The search was later stood down for the night.

On Monday at first light, volunteers from Clare Civil Defence commenced ground searches in the area around the missing man’s home.


The team also launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in an effort to locate the man. The drones, fitted with thermal imaging cameras, can cover larger areas quickly especially woodland where the terrain may be difficult for ground search teams.

Neighbours, friends and work colleagues of the man also joined the search. A second drone team from Galway Civil Defence assisted in the operation.

Later in the day, security camera images footed secured which showed that the man had walked into Ennis town and towards a carpark adjacent to the River Fergus. When this information became available, Clare Civil Defence volunteers launched two boats on the river on Tuesday morning and carried out a comprehensive search but found no trace of the man.


Later on Tuesday, emergency services were alerted after person was spotted entering the same river. A major search and rescue operation was quickly mounted.

Units of Clare County Fire and Rescue Service from nearby Ennis station including specially trained swift-water rescue technicians (SRTs) were mobilised along with Clare Civil Defence, the National Ambulance Service and gardaí.

Watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry were also alerted and members of the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard tasked to the scene. The operation was stood down at around 7pm when there was no sign of the man.

When the search resumed on Wednesday, Clare Civil Defence were looking for two missing men. Divers from the search and recovery section of Ennis Sub Aqua Club also joined in the search.


Further searches of the riverbank continued on Thursday before divers rejoined the effort on Friday.

The search resumed on Saturday morning with divers from the search and recovery units of Ennis, Burren, Kilkee and Lough Derg Sub Aqua Clubs, all affiliated with the Irish Underwater Council (Diving Ireland).

Volunteers from Galway Civil Defence also travelled to Clare with a boat fitted with sonar equipment. Clare Civil Defence also launched two boats as part of the continuing operation. A comprehensive search of the river was conducted but no trace of either man was found.

The search has been stood down for the day and is expected to resume on Sunday.

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