Community grief as body of shellfish picker found; DEATH.
A SMALL community was plunged into grief last night after the body of a woman was recovered from the sea just hours after she went periwinkle picking.
The woman, last night named locally as Kay Mullins from Bere Island, West Cork, was due to collect her brother's children from school yesterday at 3pm after a day picking periwinkles on the western side of the island.
But it is believed she was washed away by a freak wave or that she slipped on wet rocks and banged her head and fell into the sea.
The alarm was raised yesterday afternoon and an extensive search was launched by the Coast Guard helicopter and Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat.
Her body was found in the water at around 5.45pm and she was taken to Castletownbere Lifeboat Station before being removed to Cork University Hospital.
A postmortem is due to be carried out today.
It was the second tragedy to hit the family after Kay's elderly mum, who she looked after full-time, passed away in recent weeks.
Kay, who is believed to have been in her mid-40s and single, was last night described as a popular and active member of the closeknit Bere community. A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: "She was a lovely woman, she would do anything for anybody and she was very involved in island life and did a lot of voluntary work."
Gardai said foul play was not suspected.
Local TD Noel Harrington described the death of the woman as a "terrible tragedy".
VICTIM Kay Mullins