Missing tourist couple at centre of Coast Guard search 'did not show up for flights'
Gardai are appealing to the public for assistance in establishing the whereabouts of the two Japanese nationals missing in Co Clare.
The pair have been named as male American and Japanese national Eiji Takagi (63) and female Japanese national Ushio Azaki (61).
Gardai report them to have checked out of hotel accommodation in Spanish Point, Co Clare on Saturday morning.
A hired car they were using was found parked in a car park at Georges Head car park, Kilkee. Co Clare.
The car was reported by a member of the public to have been parked at the same location since Saturday, August 22.
The couple were due to take a flight from Shannon Airport on Monday via Heathrow Airport for onward connection to Tokyo, Japan but failed to show up for this flight.
It is understood the couple were last seen in a local hotel on Saturday evening but this cannot be confirmed.
A search operation is ongoing in conjunction with An Garda Síochána and the Irish Coast Guard.
Members of the Irish Coast Guard Kilkee unit began land searches just after 5pm yesterday, while the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter also searched the area.
The Doolin Coast Guard are also in the Kilkee area to help with the search.
The search is focusing on the area north and south of Kilkee Bay.
Meanwhile, retired head and founder of the Kilkee Marine Rescue Service, Manuel di Lucia, said that it was he who contacted the gardai in relation to the couple's abandoned car.
A friend of his takes a daily swim at Byrne's Cove and noticed that a 151-D Hyundai i10 had not moved from its parking space for two days.
"He rang me and I in turn alerted the gardai in Kilrush," di Lucia told Independent.ie.
Di Lucia said that helicopter searches have been taking place over land and sea in the KIlkee area, and the lifeboat was launched last night to join in the search.
Weather conditions in the area today are said to be clear to good.
Investigating Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information in relation to the whereabouts of these people or to any person who may have seen their car prior to its finding in Kilkee ( A red Hyundai 151-D23003) to contact Kilrush Garda Station on 065 908 0550, the Garda Confidential Line 1 800 666 111 or any Garda Station.