Mother joins search for only son off West Cork coast

THE mother of a Polish teenager has joined the search for her only son who has been missing, presumed drowned, off the West Cork coast.

Joanna Latek, whose husband Piotr’s body was found off Cod’s Head last week, scoured treacherous coastline between Allihies and Cod’s Head yesterday in a desperate effort to find 13-year-old Mattheus.

She was joined on the shore search by Piotr’s father, Stanislaus.

They were accompanied by several members of the Polish community from Kenmare, where Piotr worked as a baker.

They split into groups and were led over the rugged terrain by Castletownbere Coast Guard unit members.

It is believed that Piotr and Mattheus, who had only just arrived in Ireland to holiday with his father, were swept in to the sea on July 12 while fishing off Cod’s Head.

The alarm was raised on Monday morning last and a major sea and shore search has been underway since.

Naval divers recovered Piotr’s body last Wednesday morning in a channel of water about 100 metres from where it is believed the father and son entered the water.

However, despite dozens of dives in the surrounding area, no trace has been found of young Mattheus.

The divers called off their search operation yesterday after nine dives were conducted over the weekend, without success. The team returned to the naval base at Haulbowline where divers remain on standby should they be required.

The Coast Guard continued searching with the Castletownbere unit’s boat scouring an area of about five square kilometres between Cod’s Head and Allihies Point.

Several local boat owners joined the sea search while several other local volunteers helped on land.

The next 48 hours will be crucial, Coast Guard coordinator Tony O’Leary said, and search teams will be beefed up today with more Coast Guard members and locals expected on scene.

The Derrynane Inshore rescue boat and the Castletownbere lifeboat may also be called in.

The Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter may also be involved but the weather forecast is poor.

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