Mr Whelan (41) was recovered from the wreck of the sunken trawler ‘Alize’ yesterday (Friday) having been missing since the trawler went missing in the late hours of Saturday night, 4 January.
The recovery of Mr Whelan brings to an end a nearly three week wait for his family, friends and the community of the south-east coast.
Mr Whelan was accompanied on board by crewmate and friend, Joe Sinnott, (65).
Mr Sinnotts body was recovered from the sea in the early hours of Sunday, 5 January after an alert was received by MRCC Dublin for an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) activated in the vicinity of Hook Head, Co Wexford. Unfortunately, on arrival at University Hospital Waterford further attempts at resuscitation failed it was announced later that Mr Sinnott had passed away.
Since then, rescue efforts had been concentrating on finding the wreck of the ‘Alize’ and the recovery of Mr Whelan. It was suspected that his remains were inside the boat until Wednesday, when divers from Hook Head Sub Aqua Club confirmed they discovered a body in the hull of the sunken trawler ‘Alize’.
Irish Navy divers had returned to to scene the following day (Thursday) and began the difficult recovery procedure.
They carried out a number of dives in the afternoon, having deployed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to capture footage of the wreck on the seabed. Late yesterday evening they suspended operations for the night.
Dives got under way againon Friday morning with up to 15 divers Navy Divers using the Irish Lights Vessel, Granuaile as a base.
The naval vessel, LÉ Samuel Beckett, assisted with operations along with Gardaí and the Irish Coast Guard.
Yesterday’s recovery brought to a closea 20-day search which involved the Irish Coast Guard, the RNLI, the Irish Navy and local fishermen, along with the Irish Navy Section Diving Service and the Gardaí.