Search resumes for crew of Irish fisning vessel –

Search resumes for crew of Irish fisning vessel Published:  16 January, 2012

A MAJOR search for five fishermen whose trawler sank off the southern coast of Ireland early on Sunday resumed at first light today.

The fishing vessel ‘Bonhomme’ sent out a distress signal when it got into difficulty after it left the Cork port of Union Hall. One man was rescued and treated at Cork University Hospital, but the others are still missing. The skipper of the vessel  and one other are Irish, but most of the crew members are thought to be Egyptian. The Irish Coastguard said that an extensive search got under way on Sunday involving an Irish naval vessel, an RNLI lifeboat and one of their own search and rescue helicopters. The spokesman added that the conditions for searching were reasonable for the time of the year although there was a swell. The search, which got under way again at 8 am, is concentrated at the mouth of the estuary between two large rocks known locally as the Adam and Eve rocks. It is understood the fishing boat has been fishing out of Union Hall for the past nine years under a skipper from Co Waterford. The trawler is understood to have been making its way home in force 7 to 8 south-easterly winds when the alarm was raised. Reports suggest that the vessel may have had engine failure and was blown onto a rocky island, according to some local people.

The Shannon and Waterford Irish Coastguard helicopters were at the scene yesterday, as were  the crews of the Courtmacsherry and Baltimore lifeboats along with up to 15 fishing vessels. A team of naval and police divers had hoped to get down to the vessel at low tide around 4pm yesterday but after assessing the conditions including a combination of big swells and fading light, they decided wait until today.