BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
U-boat diver's body is recovered
The U-boat dive team pictured on Tuesday - pic Presseye
Michael Hanrahan (extreme right) died on the dive
The body of a 45-year-old diver who died at the site of a sunken German U-boat has been recovered.

Michael Hanrahan, a father of four from Dublin, died during a dive at the submarine, 16 miles off Malin Head on the County Donegal coast on Tuesday.

Paul Lewis, another member of the dive team, said he tried to save Mr Hanrahan's life.

"Out of the blue, Mick just fell back onto the wreck and I think he had some sort of a seizure," Mr Lewis said.

"Instantly I went to his aid, but it was of no help to him."

The dive team was filming the U-boat while assessing the chances of recovering it.

Mr Hanrahan's body was recovered by fellow members of his diving club in Dublin.

Paul Moore, from BBC Radio Ulster's Your Place and Mine, spent Tuesday with the divers at Malin Head, for a feature he was doing for the programme.

"It was just such a huge shock, because they were just so excited about it and they seemed to know just what they were doing," Mr Moore said.

"It's just such a tragedy for the family."

He was a gentle giant and a lovely man - we're just devastated
Councillor Shaun Gallagher

He said later he was looking at photographs he had taken of the divers.

"I was looking at these photographs and realising that one of these divers was still there, had had this accident and was now dead," he said.

Derry City councillor Shaun Gallagher paid tribute to Mr Hanrahan.

"He was a gentle giant and a lovely man - we're just devastated," he said.

The dive team leaving for the U-boat site on Tuesday
The dive team leaving for the U-boat site on Tuesday

It is the second fatal diving incident off the north-west coast in the last two months.

At the end of July, Paul Jackson, a police officer from Humberside, had been looking at wrecks off Tory Island but failed to resurface.

The U-boat, which did not see any war action, sank while being towed from Scotland to Londonderry to be scrapped.

Derry City Council plans to raise U-778 and house it in a museum. The boat is lying in about 70 metres of water.

It is estimated there are about 150 such boats lying off Malin Head, all vivid reminders of the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II.

The council said that "because of the depth of the waters involved, the procedure was expected to be highly technical".

Keiron Tourish reports from Malin Head

Team to recover U-boat diver body
03 Oct 07 |  Northern Ireland
Missing diver was police officer
31 Jul 07 |  Northern Ireland

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific