Head of Coast Guard ‘We don’t hold out much hope for the crew’

Date Published : March 14th, 2017    Published By : admin

A MAJOR Search and Rescue mission is continuing off the west coast of Ireland for four crew members of an Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter which appears to have crashed.

The Irish Coast Guard has confirmed that contact was lost with the rescue helicopter at approximately 1am. The Dublin based crew of R116 had been providing ‘top cover’ for R118 (Sligo) which was in operation while performing a medical evacuation off the coast of Mayo. Rescue 116 was returning to base when it fell out of contact, six miles west of Blacksod

Irish Coast Guard S-92 Helicopter
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

One crew member was found in a critical condition. Eugene Clonan, Head of Operations at the Irish Coast Guard has said "hopes are fading" of finding three crew members still missing off the west coast of Mayo. ‘I don’t hold out much hope for this crew member’.

The LÉ Roisin has joined the rescue effort.

The major sea search is being concentrated on around 10km west of Blacksod, Co Mayo after the Search and Rescue helicopter with four crew on board lost contact around 1am.

It is understood there was no may-day call from the helicopter prior to losing contact.

The last communication with Rescue 116 was at  12.45am when it said it was approaching Blacksod in Co Mayo to refuel and there was no indication of any problem.

When the helicopter failed to respond after a communications search, the search began.

Rescue 118 from Sligo was the first rescue crew on scene where they discovered debris on the surface of the water about 1.5 nautical miles southeast of Blackrock lighthouse, around six nautical miles off the coast from Blacksod. 

Search and Rescue helicopters from Sligo and Shannon are involved in this morning's search, along with an Air Corps plane, lifeboats from Ballyglass and Achill and five local fishing boats.

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