The Cavan family of an Irishman swept out to sea in the US state of Maine has held a candlelight vigil as his body remains missing.

Thomas Clarke, a 33-year-old builder originally from Kilnaleck, was swept out to sea by Hurricane Katia last Friday.

The keen amateur photographer was trying to take pictures of the massive waves at Monhegan Island while sightseeing with friends before a wedding.

Clarke, a builder who only returned to America to find work last year, was swept out to sea as he walked on rocks close to a cave near Norton Ledge on the Atlantic coast.



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US coastguards reported that two men dived into the waters to try and save him but got into difficulties before swimming back to shore.

The missing man’s camera bag and shoes were recovered but not his body.

Two of his brothers have flown out to Maine while family, friends and relations attended the late night vigil and Mass at St Patrick’s Church in Kilnaleck.

Local Parish Priest Fr Micheal Quinn told the Irish Independent: “The vigil was organized by the community in an outpouring of sadness and grief to do something tangible as it is difficult for the family as of yet as his body has not been discovered. People are coming together in solidarity.

“The family is hopeful and prayerful that his body will be found. The desolation is still in their hearts but it would give them the opportunity to grieve if they had something tangible.”

A woman who was with the group at the time of the tragic accident was so upset after the incident that she had to be airlifted off the island by a coastguard helicopter.

The Irish Independent reports that the US coastguard searched for Thomas Clarke for 30 hours before calling off the search. They said there was a ‘negligible’ chance he would have survived.

Coast Guard search for the body of Irishman Thomas Clarke of Moneghan