Searches for two men missing since last week have been stood down after one body was recovered from a river in Ennis on Sunday afternoon while another was found on a beach in southwest Clare on Saturday.
The body located on Saturday is now believed to be that of a man in his 60s who was reported missing from his home in Ennis on January 21st. The remains discovered on Sunday are thought to be those of a man seen in the River Fergus on Tuesday evening.
Gardaí and the Irish Coast Guard had mounted an initial search on Sunday last for a man last seen on security footage leaving his home the previous night. The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, carried out a search of the area around the man’s home but that effort was hampered by poor visibility.
Civil Defence volunteers from Clare and Galway joined the search on Monday and launched drones with thermal imaging cameras as part of the effort. Friends, neighbours and work colleagues of the man also helped search the local area.
The focus of the search switched to the River Fergus on Tuesday after the man was captured on CCTV in the vicinity of the waterway. There was no indication that he had entered the water however a search of the river was carried out.
Tuesday’s search effort was stood down for the day when there was no trace of the man.
However, just hours later, emergency services received reports of a man entering the same river in the town centre. A major multi-agency search and rescue operation was quickly mounted but there was no sign of the man.
The search operation resumed on Wednesday morning and during the week, members of the search and recovery units of Ennis, Burren, Kilkee and Lough Derg sub-aqua clubs joined the effort.
Dive teams carried out several searches along the river while Galway Civil Defence also travelled to Clare with a boat fitted with sonar equipment. The search had continued every day since.
The efforts resumed on Sunday morning with dive teams undertaking further searches of the river while Clare Civil Defence boat teams carried out surface searches and provided safety support for the dive teams.
At around 12.30pm, divers located a body in the River Fergus, about 1500 metres downstream of the town centre. The remains were taken by hearse to the mortuary at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) where a post-mortem examination will be carried out.
The search of the river for the second man was stood down later after it was confirmed that the body discovered 60kms away on a beach in southwest Clare on Saturday afternoon was that of the man reported missing in Ennis last Saturday.
That discovery was made at around 3pm on Saturday by a couple out walking at White Strand beach between Doonaha and Carrigaholt on the north shore of the Shannon Estuary.
The man’s body was recovered from the beach by gardaí and Kilkee Coast Guard volunteers and was later taken by hearse to the mortuary at UHL where a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.