Search operations on the River Shannon are ongoing as emergency personnel and volunteers attempt to locate a man who went missing in the locality two weeks ago.
At the time of writing (Wednesday afternoon ), Gardaí have been joined by Civil Defense volunteers, the RNLI, Athlone Sub-Aqua Club, and Defense Forces personnel in combing the stretch of the river downstream from the town bridge.
Malachy Gilligan, 58, from Kiltoom, has been missing since January 11. He was last seen on the Strand in Athlone at around 7.30pm that night, and reported missing by his family when he did not return home.
Search efforts have been hindered by poor winter weather. Specially trained search and recovery divers from Athlone, Roscommon, Lough Ree and Longford Sub-Aqua clubs have been searching the river below the weir wall in Athlone. Due to the nature of the river in flood, this is a very hazardous tasking with poor visibility and underwater hazards.
Garda Sergeant, Andrew Haran told the Athlone Advertiser that due to the shifting waters, the same areas must be searched several times. Gardaí and other volunteers have, therefore, been repeatedly combing the same stretch of the river.
Army boats have joined in the search, and Athlone Sub-Aqua SAR are battling winter weather to carry out surface searches. The Garda underwater unit have also being carrying their own searches along with the Civil Defence, who have undertaken drone searches of the area.
“There are a lot of people involved, including volunteers, for which we are very grateful,” said Sgt Haran.
Anyone who may have seen Malachy Gilligan, or who has any information related to his disappearance, is asked to contact Athlone Garda Station on (090 ) 6492609.