Displaying items by tag: Coastguard
#Rescue116 - Tributes have poured in for Dara Fitzpatrick, the senior pilot who lost her life in yesterday’s Irish Coast Guard helicopter incident off Blacksod in Co Mayo.
“It never occurred to Dara that she shouldn’t do this [type of work] because she was female, it wasn’t easy for her crew or her to be the only female in a male environment, but she was excellent at [her job],” said Niamh, a broadcaster with Today FM, who joined her family in vigil in Castlebar overnight.
President Michael D Higgins echoed those sentiments, saying in a statement: “We are all grateful for the courage, resolution and exemplary commitment to the aims of the Cost Guard that Capt Fitzpatrick and her colleagues have consistently displayed.”
Dara Fitzpatrick was one of the Irish Coast Guard’s most experienced officers, and one of the first women to fly for the Irish Coast Guard’s precursor, the Irish Marine Emergency Services.
Longtime Afloat readers will also recall the feature in June 1994 that highlighted Dara as a then 22-year-old co-pilot on helicopter rescues, four years after she began flying.
More recently, in 2013, Afloat.ie covered Capt Fitzpatrick’s pioneering missions as part of Ireland’s first all-female SAR helicopter crew.
Meanwhile, The Irish Times reports that searches continue off Blacksod in North Mayo today (Wednesday 15 March) for Capt Fitzpatrick’s three missing crew mates from Rescue 116 — who have been named as chief pilot Mark Duffy, from Dundalk, and winch men Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith, both from North Co Dublin.
A major sea search is ongoing off the county Mayo coast approximately six miles west of Blacksod this morning. At approximately 1am this morning contact was lost with a Coast Guard SAR Helicopter off the West Coast of Ireland during a rescue mission.
The Coast Guard has confirmed that there has been an incident involving one of its Search and Rescue (SAR) Helicopters. Four crew are onboard.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D. expressed deep concern at the news.
The Sligo based Coast Guard helicopter R118 completed an early morning medical evacuation (medevac) of a crewman requiring urgent medical attention from a UK registered fishing vessel approximately 150 miles west of Eagle Island in County Mayo. Owing to the distance involved safety and communication support, known as Top Cover, was provided by the second Coast Guard helicopter, the Dublin based R116.
The search operation is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre in Malin Head. Both helicopters refuelled at Blacksod prior to transiting to the scene.
Minister Ross said; “As the search for the Dublin based helicopter R116 is currently underway I would like to express my sincere support and sympathies for all those involved, particularly those family members who are awaiting news of their loved ones.
This is an extremely difficult time for all concerned. As we await further information I would like to appeal for space to be given to the relevant professionals involved in the search operation to complete their work. Once again, I send my utmost support to all those affected.”
With the coastguard at Shannon since 2002, Dublin native Ó’Cearbhalláin received among his honours a Distinguished Service Medal for his part in the rescue 27 years ago of four fishermen off Donegal while serving with the Irish Air Corps.
Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds described Ó’Cearbhalláin as “a beautiful person, a friend, advisor and one of Ireland’s true and honest heroes.”
The Clare Herald has much more on the story HERE.
#Coastguard - The actions of a helicopter winchman during an incident in which a 14-year-old girl rescued from the sea fell back into the water have been found to be “sound” by an official investigation.
Aoife Winterlich died in hospital days after she and three other venture scouts were swept into the sea off Hook Head during an outing on 6 December 2015, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Two managed to swim to shore but Winterlich got in difficulty amid heavy seas, and the fourth youth, a 15-year-old boy, remained to keep her afloat till the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 arrived.
Severe conditions prompted the winchman to lift both teenagers from the water at the same time. As the three reached the helicopter, Winterlich slipped from her strop some 45 feet back into the water.
Records show that the winchman was back in the water to retrieve Winterlich just half a minute after reporting her fall, according to the Air Accident Investigation Unit Report as covered in The Irish Times.
Tragically, however, she died four days later at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
“In the circumstances of this particular rescue, there is nothing to suggest that the winchman’s decision-making was anything other than sound,” the report said.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
Both helicopters refuelled at Blacksod prior to transiting to the scene, some 180 miles north west of Erris Head.
The Russian crewman, who required urgent medical attention, was airlifted at 4.30am and transferred to Sligo University Hospital, where he was admitted shortly before 6am.
The operation was co-ordinated by the Marine Rescue Sub Centre in Malin Head.
Established in 2005, the Schull Community Inshore Rescue Service will be officially renamed as Schull Coast Guard later this month after two years of talks on assimilating the West Cork volunteer rescue service with the national SAR agency.
A reception is planned to mark the change, details of which will be announced on the SCIRS Facebook page.
The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.
Works to be completed by the middle of next year will see the demolition of the existing 600 sqm hangar with a 2,000 sqm facility from where Ireland’s four SAR bases — at Dublin, Sligo, Shannon and Waterford — will be co-ordinated.
Coast Monkey has more on the story HERE.
Coastguard and RNLI teams recovered the casualty, believed to be an experienced water sportsman, after he went missing between Hodson Bay and the village of Lecarrow. He later died at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe.
“All went according too plan and boo was safely brought back to her owners again,” said a Goleen Coast Guard spokesperson.
The operation is being coordinated by the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Valentia and is being supported by the Naval ship LÉ Róisín. Crew members from the LÉ Róisín went on board the vessel and assisted with casualty evacuation. Communication support and back up, known as Top Cover was provided by a second Coast Guard helicopter, the Waterford based R117.
Weather conditions in the area for helicopter operations were difficult, bordering on marginal for such operations with a strong West South West swell and winds gusting in excess of 35mph.
The helicopter is currently routing to University Hospital Limerick, to arrive before 7:30pm, following an essential fuel stopover at Kerry airport.
This is the second operation in recent weeks where the LÉ Róisín assisted the Coast Guard in an operation at sea. Coast Guard helicopters are capable of operating out to 200 miles and operations of this nature are indicative of the professionalism of the Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue crews. The Coast Guard complimented the crew of the LÉ Róisín for their efficiency in operating a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) in difficult conditions and for getting crewmembers onto the fishing vessel.
LÉ Roisin responded to a request to provide medical assistance and recover an injured fisherman approx 200 nautical miles off Loop Head. pic.twitter.com/AFmnT3Vl5G— Irish Defence Forces (@defenceforces) February 21, 2017