Holiday tragedy: body of one man found, search continues for second holidaymaker

The Castletownbere searching the sea near the  house at the Cove near Kilcrohane on the Sheeps Head where the two Dutch men left from on Saturday afternoon.

The search for a Dutch tourist missing since last Saturday resumes today after the body of his friend was taken from the sea off the West Cork coast yesterday.

The two Dutchmen, one of whom has been named as Roland Deckers, went missing on Saturday afternoon from a holiday home in the Cove area of Sheep’s Head near Kilcrohane in Co Cork.

Mr Deckers has a longstanding affiliation with Kilcrohane and was an annual visitor to the holiday home, which was bought by his grandfather and which is now owned by his parents. It is understood he has been living in Amsterdam, and yesterday locals said he typically stayed in Kilcrohane for three months every summer and occasionally at Easter time.

However, when Mr Deckers and his friend, both in their 30s, arrived in West Cork last Wednesday, it was to check if any storm damage had been caused to the property.

The two men were due to fly home today and were seen out socialising in the Kilcrohane area last Friday night. Roland had been an annual visitor to the area since the age of two and was popular locally, while the holiday home is located in a remote area right on the coast.

It is understood Roland spoke with his mother on the phone just after 1pm on Saturday and indicated they were going to go for a walk along Sheep’s Head. They have not been heard from since and neighbours raised the alarm at 11.30pm on Sunday.

Just after lunchtime yesterday the body of a man was recovered from the sea off Sheep’s Head by the Goleen Coast Guard Unit, just 200 yards away from the holiday home, known locally as Cove House. A senior garda spokesman said last night that they were liaising with the families of the two men in Holland and that it was likely they would have to wait for the arrival of a relative of the deceased before a formal identification could take place.

The Goleen Coast Guard were involved in the search alongside the Coast Guard units from Castletownbere and Toe Head/Glandore, while the Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat had searched the northern shore of Sheep’s Head.

The military vessel, the LÉ Eithne, was also involved, as well as the Shannon rescue helicopter and later, the Waterford Coast Guard helicopter .

Gale force winds battered much of the south coast on Saturday and there are fears that the men may have been swept into rough seas. It was around the same part of the headland that English author, JG Farrell, was swept off a rock and into the sea by a freak wave in 1979. The 44-year-old, who won the Booker Prize in 1973 for The Siege of Krishnapur, lived in Gortfahane House, Kilcrohane.

Local man Gerry Daly, who was part of yesterday’s search team, said Roland was a very good fisherman who would go on his dinghy to explore caves in the area and often gave fish to the neighbours. He said what had happened was “an awful tragedy”.

Bantry county councillor Dermot Sheehan said he didn’t know the family but they had holidayed in the region for a number of years and were very popular.


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