By Anne Lucey
Preliminary results of autopsies carried out on the three Latvian men whose bodies were recovered from the sea near Cahersiveen on Sunday night after they had set out on a fishing trip that morning suggest they died of drowning.
Toxicology and other results are awaited and it will be some time before the final post-mortem results are available and an inquest held. However there is nothing to suggest that other than drowning was the main cause of death, sources say.
The damaged fibreglass boat and heavy engine have been recovered from the sea at Coonanna Harbour.
The boat, as well as debris from the tragic accident, has been taken into garda possession and is being examined by investigators attached to the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.
The MCIB is now very much taking the lead in the investigation into what gardaí consider a tragic accident. The bodies had been in the water for a number of hours, gardaí believe.
A female garda has been assigned to liaise with the families of the three men with regard to funeral and repatriation as well as post-mortem examinations.
The youngest of the three men, Jurijus Burceus aged 30 had married only recently.
He worked with KWD recycling in Killarney and yesterday the company issued a statement outlining its sorry at the loss of a valued colleague and employee
“Everyone is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Yuri,” the company said.
A book of condolence has opened in the O’Connell Memorial Church in Cahersiveen and three candles are to be lit before all masses for the remainder of the week.
The local liturgy group, led by parish priest Fr Larry Kelly has announced a prayer service at Coonanna Pier in memory of the three men on Saturday afternoon involving parishioners, locals at Coonann, the coastguard and emergency services as well as anyone who wishes to attend.
Final arrangements are being put in place for the repatriation of the remains of the three men.
57-year-old Anatolijs Teivans, whose three sons also live and work in Ireland and whose wife is in Latvia, it is understood, is to be cremated in Cork on Friday before being taken back to Latvia, while arrangements are being finalised for Tralee based 38-year-old Valarijs Klimentjevs, understood to be a married man and father of a young child .
A service is set to take place in O’Sheas Funeral Home in Killarney on Wednesday night for Jurijus Burceus and his remains are being taken home to Latvia on Thursday, it is expected.
Meanwhile, gardaí and locals remain baffled as to the cause of the accident and also that the bodies and the upturned boat could have been in the water in the sheltered harbour for a number of hours, before being spotted, on Sunday afternoon.
“It is a mystery,” one garda said.
Water temperatures are still not terribly low in the area after a long warm summer, and locals still swim.
The men had set out shortly before 8.30am on what had become a regular Sunday fishing trip. Normally they would return around lunchtime.
However last Sunday sometime after 6pm the upturned hull was spotted by a local man some distance out in the harbour while one of the men was floating near the pier.