The body of a man who has been missing for 18 years has been found after a local fisherman spotted a “strange shape” at the bottom of Loch Erne using sonar, investigators have learned.
Michael Anthony Lynch, known as Tony, was reported missing by his family in January 2002, but it wasn’t until 2020 that his body and car were found underwater in Fermanagh.
The director of the diving company was working on the water in February 2020 when the special equipment he was using found a mold near the Corradillar in Lisnasquea, as the investigation into the death of Mr. Lynch came to light.
I saw a strange figure on a rough bed, which I thought might be a machine.Diving company director
In a statement read by the Laganside Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, the man said he used a “special side imaging sonar” that creates 3D images of everything that lies on the bottom of the lake.
He said in a statement: “That day I was about 25 meters from the slipway of Corradillar Key when I saw a strange figure on the bed of the lake, which I thought could be a car.
“I intended to go back and take a closer look at the other scene and dive in to see what it was. Due to work, I did not return as quickly as I had hoped.
“On May 16, 2020, I met a guard while I was fishing and mentioned to him the possibility of getting a car as I knew the guard was looking for a missing person and car in Lough Erne.”
He called the police to the scene, and on May 18 of that year, the car was found with the remains of Mr. Lynch inside.
Mr. Lynch, the excavator driver, was identified by dental records and officially declared dead on May 20, 2020.
About 11 bodies of water were searched by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and security after Mr Lynch was reported missing, but nothing was found.
The father of four moved from the family home in November 2001 in Magheraweli, Fermanagh, to an apartment in Clones, County Monaghan, to deal with his drinking problem, investigators have learned.
His wife, Angela Lynch, who attended the inquest with her son, described him as “a good father, a good husband, and a good person.”
He was last seen in a hotel bar in Clones on January 6, 2002, drinking two half glasses of whisky.
A PSNI officer who testified to the investigation said that the position of the car about 20 meters from the edge of the embankment indicated that it entered the water at speed and did not roll.
The officer told the hearing, “For it to be this far, the vehicle had to be traveling at speed to enter the water.”
Coroner Anne-Louise Toal ruled that Lynch drowned after driving into the water.
She said: “The medical evidence provided showed that the deceased had a history of low mood and depression associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
“I discovered that Michael Anthony “Tony” Lynch, amid his recent departure from the family home, depression and problems with alcohol, entered the water at high speed in his car on the Corradillar waterfront on January 6, 2002 or early on January 7, 2002 . January 2002
“Based on the balance of probabilities, I find that Mr. Lynch died through his own fault.”
She said that due to the long period of time between his death and the discovery of his body, the medical cause of death had not been determined.
But she added that in the absence of any injuries noted at the autopsy, she determined that the cause of death was drowning.