The Air Accident Investigation Unit and An Garda Síochána, in conjunction with the Irish Coast Guard, have expressed their ‘sincere appreciation’ to the Commissioners of Irish Lights and the Marine Institute, supported by Geological Survey Ireland, for the extensive search conducted around Black Rock Lighthouse following the loss of Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 on March 14.
The search operation by the Marine Institute’s Holland 1 ROV concluded this afternoon when the CIL’s vessel Granuaile departed Blacksod Bay. Supt. Tony Healy confirmed that the Garda water unit would conduct diving searches in the vicinity of Blackrock Lighthouse as soon as wind and tidal conditions are favbourable.
Coast Guard and Civil Defence volunteers will continue targeted searches of coastal areas and monitor ‘specific areas of interest’.
Gerard O’Flynn from the Coast Guard thanked the statutory and voluntary organisations for their “unstinting support” over the past four weeks, paying special thanks to Coast Guard, RNLI and Civil Defence volunteers and Defence Forces who assisted naval divers, ships and the Air Corps. The operation highlighted the value of inter-agency cooperation in meeting challenges of this type, he added.
The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to keep a good lookout for any material associated with Rescue 116 and to report any findings to Malin Head Coast Guard Coordination Centre.
AGS, AAIU and IRCG reiterated their sympathy to the families of Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith and expressed the hope that with ongong monitoring at sea and on shore, the remains of Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith would be found.