A tragedy which stunned the Inishowen community

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From the ‘Derry Journal’ of Friday, November 17th, 1995

News of the disappearance of ‘The Carrickatine’ was reported two days later in the ‘Derry Journal.’

The report ran as follows: Amidst growing fears for the safety of the crew of the Donegal fishing vessel missing for more than 36 hours, family and friends in the close-knit fishing community in Greencastle were last night still hopeful that the 85ft ‘Carrickatine’ would be discovered safe and well.

Three members of the one family and two from another are among the six man crew of the trawler which failed to return to Greencastle Harbour on Wednesday evening. Searches for the vessel was due to be stepped up at first light this morning.

According to local priest, Fr, George McLaughlin, the families of father and son, John and Stephen Kelly, their cousin Terry Doherty, brothers Conal and Jeremy McKinney, who was the boat’s skipper and Ben Gallagher, all from the Greencastle area, were hopeful that the massive search would be successful.

“Fr McLaughlin said: “They are naturally very shocked and distressed, but still hopeful.”

However, Fr McLaughlin added that the whole community was affected by the alert.

“A fishing community is like one big family, therefore, the whole community is affected. We are all hoping and praying that the search will end with good news,” he said.

Greencastle Harbour Master, John McClenaghan, was also hopeful.

He said: “They could be 150 miles out to sea. Nothing has been found, not even wreckage, so we are all hoping for the best.”

Mr. McClenaghan, however, revealed that the boat was operating in atrocious conditions before contact had been lost.

“Conditions were very bad with North West gales and heavy rain. Visibility was also very poor,” he confirmed.

‘The Carrickatine’ is understood to have suffered gearbox problems, but was spotted shortly after 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Radio contact with the boat was lost and the alarm was raised. In the early hours of yesterday, an all day search, co-ordinated by Clyde Coastguard in Scotland and Malin Head Radio Station, involving a British RAF Nimrod plane and two Irish Army Air Corps helicopters got underway and lifeboats from Arranmore and Portrush also joined the search.

Back on Greencastle Harbour crews worked late into the night preparing approximately 20 vessels to join the search at first light.

Meanwhile Masses at St. Pius X Church in Moville are being offered for the safe return of the boat and its crew.’

The six men who were lost on the Carrickatine on Wednesday, November 15th, 1995 were brothers Jeremy (28) and Conal McKinney (29) father and son John Kelly (38) and Stephen Kelly (16), Terry Doherty (21) and Bernard Gormley (18).