Divers locate body of fisherman lost at sea off coast of Co Wexford

Divers locate body of fisherman lost at sea off coast of Co Wexford

THE BODY of a fisherman who had been missing off the coast of Co. Wexford earlier this month has been located and recovered.

William 'Willie' Whelan had been missing since January 4 after his trawler sank and a search and rescue operation was quickly organised to try and find him.

His boat, the Alize, an 11.7-metre steel-hulled vessel, sank off Hook Head.

An emergency beacon with Whelan's location was activated once the trawler was submerged but it took almost three weeks for it to be located again.

Hook Sub Aqua divers found the boat at around 11.30am on Wednesday morning, but had to wait around 12-hours to remove Whelan's body due to the complexity of the operation.

A Facebook page called 'Lets get William home' thanked the divers on Thursday morning after the body was finally removed, stating that they were "truly amazing and deserve such respect and admiration."

Credit: Facebook

A spokesperson for the Whelan family said: "Thank you again to each and every one of you. I literally can't put into words how grateful the Whelan family are."

Up to 50 volunteers took part in the search and rescue operation.

It's unknown what happened to the trawler which has yet to be recovered.

A second fisherman - Joe Sinnott, 65, from Kilmore Quay - died in hospital after being rescued and was laid to rest last week.

The two men were close friends as well as work colleagues.

Both men had impeccable safety records around trawlers and when out fishing.

Their deaths serve as a chilling reminder of just how dangerous fishing can be.