Third generation of family to die at sea

ONE of five fishermen missing off the Irish coast was the third generation of his family to drown at sea.

Relatives of Pat Coady, 27, spoke of their disbelief at the tragedy which devastated the village of Dunmore East, Co Waterford.

His father and grandfather also lost their lives making a living from fishing.

Mr Coady’s sister Kelly said: “We lost the grandfather in 1995 and it’s the father’s anniversary on Sunday — and now Pat. It was a job he loved doing. We are just trying to hold up.”

Mr Coady gave up fishing two years ago. He decided to go back out just for one day. He took up a job with the ESB, but he was contemplating returning to the fishing industry.

A friend of skipper Tom Hennessey, Chris Brookes, who is originally from London and moved to the area 12 years ago, wept as he remembered Mr Hennessy.

“He was my best mate. He befriended me when I came here. He was a lovely man, that’s all I can say,” Mr Brookes said.

Crewman Billy O’Connor is known locally as “Billy the Squid”. Local TD, Brendan Kenneally, who went to school with Billy, described him as a dedicated, hard-working man, typical of the fishing industry.

Ukranian nationalist, Andriy Dyrin from the City Savastapol, leaves behind a wife and one-year-old child. He had been halfway through a six-month stay in Ireland to make money for his family.

Reverend John Rochford, of Bolton Street, Waterford, who works with immigrants in the south-east, had to break the news to Mr Dyrin’s wife Natasha.

The search operation was led by three lifeboats from Kilmore Quay, Dunmore East and Rosslare, two coastguard helicopters and more than a dozen local fishing vessels.

Winds gusting up to gale force 10 battered searchers, and 22ft (2.7m) high seas also hampered their efforts.

Two empty life rafts from the boat launched automatically, as designed, when the boat sank, but there were no signs of the crew having reached them.

Fish boxes from the Pere Charles were also found washed up on beaches around Kilmore Quay.

The last contact with the missing trawler was shortly before 6pm yesterday with sister boat, the Suzannah G, which was nearby.

Seconds after the radio message that something was wrong, the Pere Charles vanished from the radar.

The last words heard from skipper Mr Hennessy were: “Stand by. Something’s wrong.”

The crew of the Suzannah G headed for where the missing trawler was located but found no trace of it.

The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Bishop William Lee, along with the local parish priest Brian Power, met the missing fishermen’s families.

“I assured the relatives of my ongoing support, and prayers and my heart goes out to each of them. The suffering and anguish that the loved ones are experiencing is simply heartbreaking,” the bishop said.

“I am asking the priests and people of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore to remember, in their prayers, the families and the crew members at their masses this weekend.

“I also ask people to remember in their prayers the courageous efforts of all those involved in this search and rescue operation.”

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