Trawler victim to be laid to rest

There were emotional scenes as hundreds attended the removal of the youngest victim of the sinking of the trawler Tit Bonhomme, which hits rocks off the South-West coast.

Last night, the coffin of Kevin Kershaw, 21, was shouldered from O’Sullivan’s Funeral Home in Clonakilty, Co Cork, to the nearby parish church by his grieving father, Patrick, and brothers, Ciaran and Trevor.

Kevin’s mother, Margaret, followed closely behind and was comforted by friends and other relatives as they made their way to the church where Kevin’s requiem mass will be held at noon today, prior to burial in his native Dublin.

A large number of the Egyptians — who lost two friends and countrymen in the tragedy and are still searching for another — also attended.

Several dignitaries, including gardaí, members of the emergency services, county councillors and the former minister for agriculture, Joe Walsh, were also present.

Recovery teams will be hoping today’s weather will not be as poor as forecasted when they recommence the search at first light, on what will be the 11th day of the operation.

They are still trying to locate the bodies of skipper, Michael Hayes, 52, and Egyptian crewman Saied Aly Eldin, 24.

Egyptian fishermen based in West Cork, were waiting anxiously last night for news if relatives or friends had drowned in another tragic accident in the Red Sea, on a boat well known to them.

Mohamed Mahmoud, a close friend of the only Tit Bonhomme survivor, Abdo Mohamad, said only days ago they had discovered another of their villagers had died in a fishing accident off the coast of Libya.

He said his countrymen and the people of Union Hall and Glandore, where the Tit Bonhomme sank last Sunday week, were united in grief and solidarity.

Another Egyptian, Mohamed Elbahout, worked for more than three years on Michael Hayes’s trawler before moving to another vessel recently.

Mr Elbahout described Mr Hayes and his family as ‘’very good people’’ and said he was there to support them in their search for the former skipper’s body.

Mr Hayes wife, Caitlin Ní Aodha, and members of her family, used a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) to search Glandore Bay. The craft was given to the family by renowned Cork-based consultant heart surgeon Peter Kearney.

Meanwhile, Mr Hayes’s brother, Tom, who is the chief superintendent in charge of policing in West Cork, spent many hours in another RIB combing the bay. He was joined in the search by a number of other gardaí, including several off-duty superintendents who volunteered their time.

According to coastguard coordinator Hugh Barry, around 250 people joined the search yesterday.

It began at first light as 20 garda and navy divers started underwater searches. Volunteer units from Mallow and Killarney also then joined in the operation.

Many of the divers spent some time searching near Adam’s Island where the boat sank and where a body was subsequently reported to have been seen floating. However, no body was recovered from that area.

Experienced Garda search teams combed dangerous cliff and shoreline areas, while Civil Defence Units and volunteers surveyed other locations, even up the estuary as far as the village of Leap.

Mr Barry said conditions deteriorated so much yesterday afternoon that a planned sweep of the bay by the coastguard helicopter had to be cancelled.

Today’s forecast suggests southerly winds in the area which, he said, could make diving more difficult.

The generosity of local people continued unabated as car loads of food and soft drinks arrived at the pier to feed search teams.

Bill Deasy, a local fishermen who is helping to coordinate the voluntary effort, praised fuel distributors in Skibbereen who donated significant quantities of diesel and petrol for search vessels.

Today the LÉ Orla will send out diving teams as soon as weather conditions allow to search the waters.

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