A large-scale search operation, which had gone into its fourth day, ended yesterday morning following the grim discovery of the missing man’s body at the Claddagh Basin.
The body of the 55-year-old man, a native of Wexford but who had been living in Galway city for the past number of years, was found by a person out walking at around 11am yesterday at a location near Nimmo’s Pier.
It is understood that gardai were contacted by the walker who noticed a body floating in the water. Gardai immediately arrived at the scene and the body was retrieved and taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem examination.
The Garda Sub Aqua Unit, which had been carrying out searches at a different location at the time of the discovery, has been involved in continual searches of the city river and coastal areas, along with Galway RNLI Lifeboats and the Coast Guard helicopter, since Sunday evening last.
The alarm was first raised shortly after 5pm on Sunday by members of the public when the man was seen entering the water close to Salmon Weir Bridge. Emergency services immediately sprang into action carrying out extensive searches of the banks of the River Corrib, at the Docks area, and along the coastal shoreline as far as Ballyloughane. The search continued into the evening but no one was found.
According to Galway RNLI Lifeboat a crew of four personnel took part in the major search and rescue operation along the river Corrib estuary after it was tasked by the Irish Coastguard. They were joined by the Shannon-based Irish rescue helicopter, a boat from the Irish Coastguard service in Cashla, members of the Galway Fire Brigade, and Galway gardai. The Galway RNLI Lifeboat team then stood down at approximately 8.45pm.
The RNLI lifeboat crew and the Irish Rescue helicopter from Shannon then resumed the search for the missing man the following day at 8am. However the search took an unexpected turn when the rescue services discovered the body of another man, believed to have been in the water for over a week.
The second man’s body was discovered on Rabbit Island off Murrough headland at approximately 8.30am on Monday by the Galway Lifeboat team, the Coastguard boat from Rosaveel, and the Irish rescue helicopter. Galway Lifeboat transported the body to the Lifeboat station where Galway gardai were waiting and a post mortem was later carried out at University Hospital Galway. The man is understood to be in his mid fifties and had been living in Tuam prior to his disappearance. He had been last seen in Galway city and reported missing to gardai on January 30