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Irish Coast Guard To Manage Fishing Fleet Search For Missing Rescue 116 Crew

7th April 2017
Rescue 116 went down at Black Rock off the Mullet Peninsula on 14 March Rescue 116 went down at Black Rock off the Mullet Peninsula on 14 March Photo: Commissioner of Irish Lights

#Rescue116 - The Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre in Malin will tomorrow (Saturday 8 April) assist with managing the surface search for the two missing crewmen of Rescue 116 by a large number of fishing vessels that have offered their services.

No trace of Paul Ormsby or Ciarán Smith was found when the wreck of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter was lifted from the sea bed off Black Rock in Co Mayo last weekend, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

While underwater operations are ongoing, a fleet of fishing vessels from Killybegs this week pledged to sweep the Atlantic seaboard from first light tomorrow for any sign of the missing coastguard airmen, according to The Irish Times.

The South Donegal and North Mayo coast has been divided into a number of search areas, each under the direction of an RNLI or Irish Coast Guard asset. The Naval Service ship LÉ Ciara will be on scene ready to assist where required.

Meanwhile, the coastguard is requesting all mariners in the area to keep a good lookout for any debris in the course of their routine activities and to report any findings to the Malin Head Coast Guard Coordination Centre.

Coastguard officials expressed their ongoing appreciation to the many volunteers supporting the search, in particular coastguard members, lifeboat volunteers and Civil Defence, as well as local community support.

Update from the RNLI: Lifeboats from Ballyglass, Achill, Sligo, Bundoran and Arranmore, along with Killybegs and Killala Coast Guard, will be on scene for the day and will keep in communication with all vessels.

The RNLI wishes to join with the coastguard in stressing the importance of safety for every person taking part in the search. Each individual should be wearing a personal floatation device and have access to a working VHF for communications.

While engaged in the search, the RNLI lifeboats will remain on call and available for search and rescue operations. Should an RNLI lifeboat need to respond to an emergency elsewhere a designated deputy vessel will be appointed.

Commenting on the planned search, RNLI lifesaving manager Gareth Morrison said: “Since the loss of Rescue 116 our lifeboat crews from Ballyglass and Achill, later joined by Arranmore, Sligo and Bundoran have spent a huge number of hours out searching. This has been in conjunction with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard, Naval Service, Civil Defence and with local vessels.

“Most of our lifeboat crew are volunteers who have left families and jobs to engage in the search. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the RNLI lifeboat crews, station personnel and wider communities who have taken part.”

“With everyone involved in the search on Saturday staying vigilant and safe and following the directions from the on scene coordinators we will cover a huge area safely. We also ask that people continue to keep a lookout for any debris and report findings to the coastguard.”

Morrison concluded: “Our thoughts remain with the families and colleagues of the crew of Rescue 116.”

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