The families of two men feared drowned on the Tit Bonhomme trawler tragedy off Cork have lit candles and dropped flower petals into the sea in a heartwrenching visit to the crash site.
Paddy Kershaw, who lost his eldest son Kevin, 21, and Caitlin Ni Aodha, the wife of experienced skipper Michael Hayes, made the trip to the edge of an exclusion zone in the sea off Adam’s Island.
The grieving families could see the top of the wheel house of the sunken fishing boat where it is feared the bodies of the men remain.
As respects were paid, friends of the three missing Egyptian fishermen continued to press the Navy to send a dive team on to the wreck despite worsening Atlantic swells.
“He was an absolute diamond. I can’t put it in any other words,” Mr Kershaw said of his son.
“Everywhere he went he made an impact. He was very involved in the community down here and if you met Kevin he always went out of his way to make people happy. He had that glow about him that if you met him you’d never forget him.
“Anyone who ever met Kevin said he always had a positive attitude in life and would go out of his way to help them and he had such an atmosphere about him.”
Ms Ni Aodha, spokeswoman for the Irish Fishermen’s Organisation, was held tightly by relatives as they looked at debris strewn around the crash site.
The Tit Bonhomme went down at about 6am on Sunday at Adam’s Island at the entrance to Glandore Bay in an area known for treacherous currents and dangerous rocks.
Nets from the stricken vessel were being pulled in and out from the boat as southerly swells grew through the day.
Naval dive team leader Lieutenant Conor Kirwan has refused to sanction a dive on the wreck amid fears for people’s safety.
“Conditions in the immediate vicinity of the vessel remain particularly treacherous, only the naval and Garda dive teams with their extensive support should dive the Tit Bonhomme,” he said.
“We do not want to compound this tragedy with a further tragedy.”
The Navy has put up a 100m exclusion zone around the wreck site.
Friends of the missing Egyptian fishermen – Weal Abd Elgwad, brother of the only survivor Mohammed, Said Ali Eldien and Shaban Farrg, all from the same fishing region near Alexandria – are willing to dive on the wreck but have been refused by authorities.
The Irish Coast Guard, Lieutenant Kirwan and gardaí are continuing to monitor weather conditions. It is hoped winds will turn westerly tomorrow and shift swells to another side of the island and make a dive to access the wheelhouse possible in less than 12m of water.
Mr Kershaw revealed that he had initially been optimistic of finding his son alive when the alarm as first raised.
The father-of-six said after spending more than two days on boats in the bay and waiting to see if dive teams can get the all clear, the father-of-six believes his son and the other men’s bodies are on the wreck.
The search will resume tomorrow at first light when assessments will begin on the dangers posed by Atlantic swells and debris and nets from the boat.