Helicopter joins search for 80-year-old woman

THE Shannon Rescue helicopter and sniffer dogs yesterday joined gardaí and 100 local people in a search for an 80-year-old widow missing from her home near Newcastle West, Co Limerick.

The alarm was raised by her family about 8.30pm on Thursday when she failed to return home.

Gardaí believe the woman may have wandered into rugged countryside which leads to Barnagh Hill.

Nora Mary King, who was described by gardaí as a “very fit and agile lady,” set out from her home at Rathcahill on her bicycle.

She was to visit a relative and go to Mass, but her bicycle was found at 2.30pm on Thursday near her home. A search by relatives failed to find her and she was reported missing at 8.30pm. Inspector Anne Marie McMahon, Newcastle West, said the woman was seen on her bicycle about 9.20am going to Mass on Thursday. Any information should be conveyed to gardaí at Newcastle West (Tel: 069-20650).

She is described as being 5’2” to 5’3” in height, of stocky build with grey, permed, long hair and was last wearing a navy jacket and scarf. She may be wearing glasses.

“She was a very fit and agile lady, who cycled two miles to Mass every day. She may be suffering from a loss of memory,” said Inspector McMahon. Mrs King, a mother-of-seven, may have walked a shorter route she knew through open countryside after leaving her bike against a ditch, 400 yards from her home, said her daughter, Kate Harrison.

Meanwhile, Claire Boylan of Dublin, last seen on March 2 when she left home to visit a friend in Tullamore, is asked to contact her mother who faces an operation next week. Claire is 36, is 5’4,” with short brown curly hair, green eyes and an oval-shaped face.

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