A FUNDRAISER has been set up to support the family of an Irishman who has been missing in Australia for more than a week.
Damien Lucey, 42, was last seen on January 8 swimming at Honeycombs Beach in Busselton, around 250km south of Perth, Western Australia.
Two people heard the Cork native calling out for help, however, despite extensive searches by police and rescue teams, no trace of Mr Lucey has been found.
Now, a GoFundMe appeal set up by a friend of the Irishman’s family has raised more than €40,000.
It is hoped the money raised will help with the financial costs of the search for Mr Lucey and to enable his family to travel to Australia, where he has lived for around 10 years.
“This tragedy has obviously devastated the Lucey family and his close friends,” read the appeal.
“In fact, everyone that knew Damien is heartbroken by this tragic loss and I know all those that knew him will join in the desire to want to assist his family at this difficult time.
“My hope is that we can help them in returning to Perth to aid in the search for Damien, and to bring him home.”
‘Known and respected’
Mr Lucey’s former football club in his native Ballincollig backed the appeal and offered their support to his family.
“Damien unfortunately got into difficulty in the ocean in Perth, Australia — to date Damien has not been found,” read a Facebook post from Ballincollig AFC..
“Please pray for Damien to be returned home to his family and friends.”
Meanwhile, the Western Australia branch of the Electrical Trades Union, of which Mr Lucey was a member, also shared the appeal.
“We’re extremely sad to report that the young man missing off the coast at Honeycombs Beach in the South West is electrician Damien Lucey,” read a statement from branch secretary Peter Carter.
“Damien is also a proud member of the ETU and has been since arriving in WA from Cork in Ireland.
“Damien has worked on many projects throughout the state and is known and respected by many in the construction and contracting industry.”
It added that the branch ‘will be doing what we can to help his family’ and urged members to share details of the fundraiser.
For more information on the GoFundMe appeal, click here.