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Civil Defence personnel searching the river for the missing men last week.

Searches ended as bodies of two missing men in Clare recovered

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Searches of a river in Co Clare for two men missing since last week, have been stood down after one body was recovered from a river in Ennis yesterday afternoon while another was found on a beach in southwest Clare on Saturday.

A Garda spokesperson confirmed: “Gardaí are investigating all the circumstances following the discovery of a body of a man in his 80s, in the River Fergus, Ennis, at approximately 1pm. His body has been removed to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem will take place at a later date, the results of which will determine the course of the investigation.”

The body of the man recovered from the beach is now believed to be that of a man in his 60s reported missing from his home in Ennis on January 21, while the remains discovered yesterday afternoon 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 however 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.

Just hours later however, 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 however no sign of the man was found.

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 effort to locate the two men resumed yesterday 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 from the town centre. That body was removed by hearse to the mortuary at University Hospital Limerick 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 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 later removed by hearse to the mortuary at University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination will be carried out. The search of the River Fergus in Ennis has now been stood down.

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