independent

Friday 20 September 2019

Agonising search goes on for Sarah

SWEPT AWAY AFTER FALLING INTO RIVER

DAVID MEDCALF

SEARCH AND rescue personnel have vowed to maintain watch over the rain-swollen River Slaney until a missing woman is recovered. Meanwhile, the mother and other family members of 46-yearold Sarah Molloy have been maintaining a vigil on the Promenade in Enniscorthy as they wait for her return.

The Milehouse Road resident is believed to have been the person seen falling into the water near to the new footbridge over the River Urrin close to the point where the two rivers meet. As she was swept out into the main current, a couple of witnesses kept her in sight for several hundred yards as they alerted the emergency services. Then she was lost to view.

Slaney Search & Rescue was notified of the problem and several boats were launched promptly from the Promenade shortly before 6 p.m. Volunteers remained on duty until 10.30 p.m. that night.

Among the first into the water on Friday, were local sub-aqua divers Mick Folan, Tom Shortt, Mick Larkin and John Redmond.

The effort was supplemented over the weekend by volunteer divers from as far away as Drogheda but to no avail as their efforts were hampered by poor underwater visibility with the river in full spate.

The presumed identity of the victim was clarified when Ms. Molly's handbag and mobile phone were discovered beside the Urrin on Saturday morning in the Mill Field. Six boats were mobilised during the day to carry out the search. The crews on the river were joined on Sunday by walkers with sticks who walked the banks looking for any sign of Sarah Molloy.

The missing woman is originally from Bree but had been living recently in Enniscorthy town. Her father Dick Cosgrave died last month but her mother Breda was among the emotional family party gathered on the Prom on Monday waiting patiently for word as the search dragged into a fourth day.

The search area has been extended almost 10 miles downstream as far as Killurin bridge because the Slaney has been running high and fast in the wake of recent rains.

Slaney Search & Rescue chairman Harry O'Connor estimated that the speed of the water over the weekend was at least six times quicker than usual, while the water level was up more than a metre on normal. The result was very poor visibility.

'It was like diving in soup on Saturday,' reported Harry O'Connor, ' though Monday was much better. The river slowed dramatically.' He confirmed that the search fleet now comprised seven boats, along with divers coordinated by Mick Folan.

' We are committed to search until we find her,' he said. 'We will never call off a search.' He thanked everyone who had volunteered their services, including Jimmy Gahan of Chapel Lane service station and the Riverside Park hotel who helped stock the canteen at Search & Rescue headquarters on the Prom.

The disappearance of the woman believed to be Sarah Molloy followed a few hours after Gardaí attended the scene on the Promenade where a man attempted to enter the river. He was taken into the care of family members and brought to hospital.

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