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Monday 5 December 2016

Fears grow for final missing Irishman in quake disaster zone

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Fears are growing one Irishman who remains missing after being caught up in the Nepal earthquake.

Thomas Drumm (55) is still unaccounted for as of this morning but there was good news for the families of Dundalk man Ciaran Sands (55) and Madelena Ryan (48).

Ciaran's delighted sister Ailish today confirmed to the Herald that he had been able to get a line out from Nepal to say he was safe.

Yesterday, the Red Cross released a list of 11 Irish people who were missing since the earthquake hit. Over 4,350 people have been killed but this figure is expected to rise.

CONTACT

However, ten of the missing 11 Irish have now made contact.

David Drumm described his cousin Thomas as an experienced traveller but the family haven't heard from him since Wednesday.

"We're very concerned. Thomas is from Monaghan but spends a lot of time in the winter months in Asia travelling around," David said.

"He could be in Thailand one week and the Philippines the next. I had been keeping regular contact with him the last few weeks.

"I exchanged emails with him on Wednesday and was expecting further communication from him but have heard nothing," he added.

"He is due to return to the UK on May 8 but his mobile is dead," he explained.

"Thomas is well able to look after himself. He's not the kind of guy who would opt for a hotel. He wouldn't be afraid to stay in huts on the mountainside or anything like that, which adds to the concern," David added.

Madelena Ryan's cousin Gary Ryan today confirmed to the Herald that she is now safe.

Her name had appeared on the Red Cross list of missing people yesterday but her name was not on the list today.

The Department of Foreign Affairs would not comment on individuals or reveal how many Irish it was still trying to make contact with.

Paul Greenan, from Dublin, was yards from Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive killed when the wall of snow and ice hit on Everest.

"This mountain of snow just tipped over," the 38-year-old said from hospital, where he is being treated for a dislocated elbow, six broken ribs, a broken hand and a broken pelvis.

"It had built up over the last two weeks. It came towards us - we waited for it to run out of steam but instead it just engulfed us. I was thrown aside like a rag doll by the force."

He saw Mr Fredinburg, who was one of nine climbers and three guides in his party, 10 yards ahead of him.

WHACKED

"We all got whacked by the same wave," Mr Greenan said. "So it was just what hit you."

Sinead McKenna was also still believed to be missing until late yesterday evening when her relieved family were finally able to make contact with her.

Her sister, Siobhan, had launched a huge social media campaign in an effort to contact Sinead, who was travelling with her boyfriend Bert.

"She had been at the airport (in Nepal) all along," her relieved sister said last night.

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