The search along the south-west Donegal coastline for missing Carrick man David Maguire will be stepped up this weekend.
The scale of the search operations to date – and the huge support of the local community – are outlined below in this special report.
A week of sadness for the Carrick community
The Carrick area of south west Donegal has been plunged into sadness for the past week over a missing local man, David Maguire.
The 38 year old father of two has been missing since early on New Year’s Day. He was reported missing on Friday evening last and since then the Gardai, the Coast Guard and Donegal Mountain Rescue have co-ordinated a huge search effort.
There have been crowds of local volunteers, family members and friends out each day since, often in atrocious weather conditions, and a week on hopes are fading for his safety.
He is described as being 5’ 10” tall and when last seen was wearing light blue jeans, and a white hoodie under a dark jacket.
The last known sighting of the missing man was recorded by CCTV in Carrick village at 04:30am on New Year’s Day. Speaking to Donegal Now, Mr Norman Millar, DMRT Training Officer and one of the Team’s longest serving members, described the search as “one of the most extensive the Team have ever taken part in” and commented on the huge local participation.
“Operations begin as soon as light breaks every day since with searchers gathering from near and far in the local community hall to meet with the Gardai, Coast Guard and Mountain Rescue units who are coordinating the search.
However, thus far, even coupled with excellent local ground knowledge the search continues to draw a blank.
The Rescue 118 Coastguard helicopter from Strandhill has combed the Sliabh Liag to Muckross Head coast and the Glen and Abhainn Bhuí rivers. Ground teams under DMRT and Coastguard control have again swept the entire coastline area from Carrick to Teelin at low tide and land operations are ongoing in the environs of Carrick and Kilcar towns. In recent days the coastal search has been extended as far as Maghery and St John’s Point. Local divers and the Gardai sub aqua team have also been involved.
There has been massive rainfall in the area over the past few nights and combined with a spring tide the rivers are very swollen. The sea was a white water wall yesterday and we must be mindful of the safety of the searchers.”
The whole search effort is imbued with a sense of great solidarity and community spirit. Up to 150 locals have been out on any day .
Even in recent days with the Gardai and Coast Guard advising people to hold back from the rivers and the coast yesterday because of high winds and lashing rain, there were still upwards on 80 people trawling the town area again. Much gratitude is expressed to the ladies who all week provided the droves of searchers with hot soup, tea, coffee and sandwiches.
There is a steady stream of locals arriving with home bakes etc and Gallagher’s Bakery, Ardara, has generously donated loaves of bread and trays of buns and scones.
The local hardware firm McGuinness’ in Killybegs has also come forward in recent days donating hi-visibility vests to the searchers in the interests of safety.
Going forward to the weekend Mr Millar says there will be an upscaling of the search effort with all units of DMRT in attendance.
The team has also asked for back up assistance from colleagues in the Sligo-Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team. Similarly the Killybegs Coast Guard Unit will be augmented by colleagues from Killala and the Rescue 118 helicopter from Strandhill will once again comb the offshore coast.
“The pathological evidence available from drowning incidents suggests that the body may surface after 8 – 10 days immersion hence the renewed focus on the rivers and sea this weekend. It is something we cannot ignore but of course we have no direct evidence to say he is in the water.”
The public are asked to use caution if participating in the search over the weekend with Met Eireann issuing an Orange weather alert. It is vitally important that people will not strike out on their own and make sure to liaise with the Gardai or Rescue personnel on the ground. The sense of community solidarity was perhaps most poignantly expressed in a mass celebrated on Teelin Pier yesterday evening attended by searchers, family and friends.
One week on from his disappearance we go forward with the prayers and earnest hopes of the whole community for the location of Mr Maguire.
By Grace Mills, courtesy of information supplied by Joe Brennan of DMRT.
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