The body of a man who had been missing for 18 years was found after a local fisherman detected an "odd shape" on the bed of Lough Erne while using sonar equipment, an inquest has heard.

Michael Anthony Lynch, known as Tony, had been reported missing by his family in January 2002, but it was not until 2020 that his body and car were discovered underwater in Fermanagh.

A company director for a diving company had been working on the water in February 2020 when the specialist equipment he was using showed up a shape near Corradillar Quay in Lisnaskea, an inquest into Mr Lynch's death heard.

In a statement read to the coroner's court sitting at Laganside, the man said he had been using "specialist side-imaging sonar", which creates 3D images of anything lying on the bottom of the lough.

Flowers at the scene on the shores of Lough Erne after the car was found (file image)

His statement said: "On that date I was about 25 metres away from Corradillar Quay slipway when I saw an odd shape on the lough bed, which I thought might have been a car.

"I intended to come back and have a closer look at another stage and dive to see what it was. Due to work I didn't get back as quickly as I'd hoped.

"On 16 May 2020 I met a garda when I was out fishing and mentioned the possibility of a car to him as I was aware that the garda were looking for a missing person and a car in Lough Erne."

He took officers to the spot and the car was recovered on 18 May that year, with Mr Lynch's remains inside.

Mr Lynch, a digger driver, was identified by dental records and formally pronounced dead on 20 May 2020.

Some 11 bodies of water had been searched by the PSNI and gardaí after Mr Lynch was reported missing, but nothing had been found.

Gardaí have said there is no suggestion of foul play involved in the disappearance of Mr Lynch, who was last seen in Clones on 6 January 2002.

Coroner Anne-Louise Toal found the cause of death to be drowning.