Body recovered in search for missing County Wexford fisherman

A Navy diver taking part in the recovery operation off Hook Head Image copyright Irish Naval Service
Image caption A Navy diver taking part in the recovery operation off Hook Head

A body has been recovered by Irish Naval Service divers taking part in the search for a missing fisherman from County Wexford.

Willie Whelan, 41, went missing almost three weeks ago after his trawler, the Alize, sank off Hook Head.

A body was initially located by members of the Hook Sub Aqua Club on Wednesday.

Since then, a team of naval divers have been searching the area off the south east coast alongside gardaĆ­ (Irish police) and the Irish Coast Guard.

They carried out a number of dives on Thursday afternoon after deploying a remotely operated vehicle to capture footage of the Alize wreck on the seabed.

Multi-agency operation

The operation was suspended on Thursday night but got under way again on Friday, with the naval team of up to 15 divers using the Irish Lights Vessel Granuaile as a base. The body was brought to the surface on Friday afternoon.

The 20-day search also included volunteers from the RNLI, as well as search and rescue helicopter crews, local volunteers and boat owners.

The Alize sank at about 22:30 local time on 4 January when Joe Sinnott, 65, and Mr Whelan were returning to harbour from a fishing trip.

Mr Sinnott, from Kilmore in County Wexford, was taken from the sea by crew members of the R117 search and rescue helicopter and pronounced dead in hospital.

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