Drone technology will be used for the first time in Clare in the search for a missing Japanese couple last seen a week ago today.
Cadaver and other sniffer dogs will also join the search for Eiji Takagi, 63, and Ushio Azaki, 61.
The couple’s red Hyundai rental car was found parked at Bynres Cove near Georges Head in Kilkee last Tuesday.
Gardaí said information secured from the vehicle’s computer tracking system has confirmed it arrived in the small carpark on Saturday morning and was not moved after that. CCTV images placed the pair in the restaurant at nearby Kilkee Golf Club on Friday.
The pair arrived in Ireland on August 18 and are known to have spent three nights in Doonbeg before moving on to Spanish Point where they stayed in a hotel on Friday.
Gardaí established that the pair made several short trips during their visit, including to the Cliffs of Moher.
The alarm was only raised on Tuesday when the car was seen parked in the same place, without being moved, for a second consecutive morning.
A Garda spokesman said: “We have drawn a blank on this and we have found no trace of the couple. We now know the car was parked at Byrnes Cove on Saturday morning and not moved after that.”
Gardaí are anxious to establish whether the couple had a reservation in any other hotel or guesthouse for Saturday and Sunday nights before they were due to fly out of Shannon Airport on Monday.
“We are still asking any accommodation providers to contact us if they had a reservation for a couple who failed to check in. We are also hoping that some of the couple’s personal items may turn up. We know that she was wearing a purple puff jacket and the man had a short black leather jacket,” the spokesman said.
“We would appeal to the public to contact us if they see or find any property including two rucksacks the couple are known to have had with them.”
The Garda Water Unit is available to join the search if the weather permits, while conditions will also dictate whether the Civil Defence drones can be deployed.
Irish Coast Guard officer in charge in Kilkee, Martony Vaughan, said: “The weather is still hampering operations. We had to take the boats in again at 1pm but the shoreline and coast searches have continued.”
“We will be out again on Saturday with our colleagues from Doolin and Ballybunion and the Shannon search and rescue helicopter.”
Gardaí at Kilrush can be contacted on 065 9080550, or call the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.
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