EGYPTIANS and Irish stood together in sorrow on the quays at Union Hall in West Cork yesterday as the bodies of two missing men were brought ashore.
There were harrowing scenes of intense anguish as the bodies of 26-year-old Attia Shaban, from Borg Megheizel near Rosetta in Egypt, and 21-year-old Kevin Kershaw, who lived in Clonakilty, were removed from the quays to CUH ahead of autopsies.
The two men were brought ashore by naval divers just hours apart. Their bodies were found within 20 metres of the sunken vessel, the Tit Bonhomme, which ran aground at Adam Island as it approached Glandore Bay at 6am last Sunday.
The first body was that of the Egyptian man, who had recently become engaged to an Egyptian woman. His remains were taken to a makeshift mortuary on the quays by Garda and navy divers at about 10.30am.
Shortly after, news filtered through that another body had been found. Just after 1pm, a naval rib again arrived at the makeshift mortuary. The Kershaw family were gathered by the Garda liaison team and Fr Pierce Cormac, and taken into the tent to see their son and brother, who had been on his first fishing trip to see if he wanted to make a career of it.
It is understood Mr Kershaw’s body was found outside the vessel, not too far from Mr Shaban’s.
Once the body had been identified, it was placed in the hearse and prayers were said. Egyptian men lined up to sympathise with Paddy Kershaw, Kevin’s father, who hugged each of the men.
Bodies of missing fishermen Kevin Kershaw and Shaban Attia are recovered
Video by Dan Linehan
Mr Kershaw said it was a relief to get his son’s body back, but said it was also a very sad time. He said his son’s body was remarkably well preserved and he looked like he was sleeping.
“His eyes were turned upwards like he was half asleep. I gave him a few kisses on the forehead and on the lips and I could taste the diesel off his mouth," he said.
"I just hope now the other families get the bodies of their loved ones. The Egyptian men have been a great support to me and we have built up a great relationship over the past few days and I want to thank them for that.”
The family of missing skipper 52-year-old Michael Hayes, a father of five, continue to spend each day out at sea looking for him. They were emotional at the quayside last night as the end of day prayers were being said. Two other Egyptian fishermen Wael Mohamad, 35, and Saied Aly Eldin, 23, are also still missing.
Marine Minister Simon Coveney visited Union Hall yesterday, as did Naval Service commander Mark Mellet. The Naval Service said the LÉ Niamh remains on station in Glandore Bay, acting as the on-scene co-ordinating vessel.
The naval dive team completed multiple dives in the vicinity of the vessel and will dive again today if conditions remain favourable.
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