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Alize Tragedy OfF Hook Head - Body of Fisherman Willie Whelan Recovered

Naval Service divers, operating from the Irish Lights’ vessel, Granuaile, recovered the body of 41-year-old Wexford fisherman Willie Whelan from a depth of over 50 feet off Hook Head, twenty days after he had gone missing when the scallop boat, Alize, sank off Hook Head.

Also aboard the boat when it sank was 65-year-old Joe Sinnott from Kilmore Quay, Co.Wexford.

An alarm was raised after an EPIRB emergency radio beacon from the boat was activated on Saturday night, January 4 and a search operation was launched by the Coast Guard and the RNLI.

Mr. Sinnott, from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford, was taken from the sea by crew members of the R117 search-and-rescue helicopter, but was pronounced dead in hospital.

The search for Willie Whelan, from Saltmills, Fethard-on-Sea in Co Wexford, had been going on for almost three weeks. His body was located by members of the Hook Sub Aqua Club. Following that a team of divers from the Irish Naval Service, who had carried out extensive mapping and preparatory work at the site off Hook Head, made a number of dives after deploying a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), using the Irish Lights vessel as their operational base, to capture footage of the wreck of the Alize on the seabed.

The naval team of up to 15 divers used the ILV Granuaile as a base during the recovery of Mr.Whelan’s body which was taken aboard Granuaile and then transferred to the Naval vessel, L.E.Samuel Beckett, to be taken ashore.

The cause of the tragedy is being investigated.