Displaying items by tag: Rescue 116
The Minister for Transport’s approval of a review of the Air Accident Investigation Unit’s draft final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has been described as “unprecedented” by the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) writes Lorna Siggins.
The pilots’ union has expressed concern that the delay in publishing the final Rescue 116 report and an imminent general election may set back “urgent reform” of Irish aviation regulation.
CHC Ireland has declined to comment on whether it sought the review, which is permitted under the Air Navigation (Notification and Investigation of Accidents, Serious Incidents and Incidents) Regulations 2009.
It is the first time in the AAIU’s 25-year history that the review option has been sought before a final report is issued.
The helicopter company employed the four aircrew – pilots Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith – who died when their Sikorsky S-92A helicopter hit Blackrock island off north Mayo in the early hours of March 14th, 2017.
The bodies of Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith remain missing, in spite of extensive searches.
The Department of Transport said it could not confirm which “party” requested the review, as reported in The Sunday Times today here.
CHC said it “continues to engage fully with the investigation and remain committed to complying with our obligation to avoid commenting on any aspect of the final report”.
CHC Ireland is holder of the 500 million euro Irish Coast Guard search and rescue contract, which is due to expire in 2022 – though an extension could be allowed to 2025- and work has already begun on preparing a new tender.
The Department of Transport confirmed that arrangements are being made for the review of the draft final report, which was released to interested parties last autumn for comment within 60 days.
The AAIU does not seek to apportion liability or blame, but lack of oversight by the Irish Aviation Authority and management failures by the Irish Coast Guard and CHC have already emerged as factors.
The preliminary report published in April 2017 identified faulty navigation systems and incorrectly fitted satellite locator beacons on the lifejackets of the two pilots.
The Dublin-based crew had been tasked to provide “top cover” support to the Sligo-based Rescue 118 helicopter for a medical evacuation off the west coast.
Stakeholders were informed on January 8th of a delay in publishing the final report, when the AAIU confirmed that an “interested party” “had “served written notice of re-examination on the Minister for Transport...on specific findings and conclusions contained in the draft final report”.
Regulation 15 (1) of the Air Navigation Regulations 2009 allows for a re-examination of “any findings and conclusions in that report that appear to reflect adversely on the person’s reputation or on the reputation of any person, living or dead, whose executor, administrator or other representative he or she is”.
The report’s delayed publication, along with an anticipated general election, means legislation which would transfer air navigation functions from the IAA to a new Irish Air Navigation Authority is in danger of “sliding down the legislative agenda”, Ialpa president Capt Evan Cullen said this weekend (sat).
“This Bill includes vital reforms to aviation regulation which are essential to bring Ireland into line with European aviation safety norms,”Capt Cullen said, calling on the Government to make it a priority.
Capt Cullen noted that the Minister for Transport had committed as far back as August 2015 to restructure the regulatory functions of IAA, but progress had been “protracted”.
The IAA currently has a “conflict of interest” in holding a safety mandate for regulatory oversight while it also “makes money out of the same entities that it regulates”, he said.
“The aviation industry in Ireland should be a cause of pride. However, Ireland’s aviation regulator remains an outlier in terms of its corporate structure,” Capt Cullen said.
“ The framework of the IAA is so outdated it is undermining Ireland’s reputation for upholding safety standards. This needs to be urgently addressed,” he said.
“Once this bill is initiated, we urge the party whips in the Dáil and Seanad to commit to agreeing to prioritise the passage of the bill so as to facilitate its enactment in advance of the general election,” Capt Cullen said.
The chair of the review board for the AAIU’s final draft report must be a barrister or solicitor of no less than ten years’ standing or a person who, in the minister’s opinion, has “aeronautical or engineering knowledge or other special knowledge or experience of air navigation or aviation”.
The review will be held in private, with the applicant given 21 days’ notice. A report is then compiled for the minister if the re-examination proceeds.
For more, read The Sunday Times here
TheJournal.ie is reporting along with other news outlets that a teenage girl has died after getting into difficulty swimming off a Co Louth beach yesterday (friday 28 June).
The 14-year-old girl was reportedly pulled out to sea by a rip current while swimming off a beach in Termonfeckin, north-east of Drogheda.
Onlookers at the beach shared their distress over the incident with the Irish Independent.
The sister of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick was speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Ray D’Arcy Show yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 13 March) on the eve of the second anniversary of the crash that took the lives of Dara and three other coastguard helicopter crew.
Earlier this month two new stamps were issued in tribute to Capt Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith as well as coastguard volunteer Caitríona Lucas who died on a rescue mission a few months previously.
Niamh Fitzpatrick said Dara’s son Fionn was only a baby at the time of the incident on 14 March 2017, but until her death “she gave him such a foundation, she’d be so proud of that”.
She added that the family has found the time around the anniversary “tough”, explaining: “It’s shock the first year, with the trauma, as well as grief and it’s almost like you have to deal with that first before you deal with the grief.”
The painting by Caitríona Lucas, who died during a rescue operation off Kilkee in September 2016, has been adapted into a tribute to both her and the crew of the coastguard helicopter Rescue 116 who were lost in March 2017.
Two stamps show separately a rendering of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, and an Irish Coast Guard rescue boat similar to what Caitríona had crewed.
The commemorative stamps were launched at the GPO last week by members of the coastguard and Caitríona’s widower Bernard.
In a joint statement, coastguard units in Skerries, Dun Laighaire and Greystones said their thoughts are with the families of Caitríona, Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith.
“This gesture by An Post is heartwarming to us all,” they added.
The four crew of the Sikorsky S-92 search and rescue helicopter were lost after the crash at Blackrock island off Co Mayo on 14 March 2017.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Capt Dara Fitzpatrick died shortly after she was recovered from the scene. The body of Capt Mark Duffy was recovered almost two weeks later. Winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith were lost at sea.
The latest news from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAUI) was an interim statement released almost a year agostatement released almost a year ago, which called for “a thorough review of search and rescue aviation operations in Ireland”.
Recommendations from a subsequently commissioned oversight review were accepted by Transport Minister Shane Ross in September last year.
The AAIU has now confirmed that a second interim statement will not be published by 14 March this year, citing work on a draft final report being “at an advanced stage”.
The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.
#SAR - The report of a team appointed to review “oversight” in Ireland’s search and rescue aviation operations has been published.
Among its short-term recommendations is that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) “formally and clearly assigns” the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) “with responsibility for the legal and safety oversight” of civil aviation SAR.
In the medium term, it is recommended that the IAA be directed to develop “clear and unambiguous” regulatory material for SAR “that is appropriate to the scale and complexity of the national aviation system”, and that roles and responsibilities are “assigned appropriately … [with] a consistent, shared understanding”.
The report says it is “evident that the regulatory arrangements for search and rescue are a hybrid of maritime and aviation depending on which assets are deployed and in what circumstances.”
But it also stresses that Ireland “is not exceptional” in this regard, and that its recommendations show “learnings which will be relevant to other jurisdictions”.
Transport Minister Shane Ross has considered the report and accepts in full its 12 recommendations.
The review was conducted as a direct response to the Air Accident Investigation Unit’s (AAIU) interim statement in March as its own investigation into the Rescue 116 incident remains ongoing after more than a year due to its “depth and breadth”.
An international team of aviation and SAR experts worked on the report, which was completed in early August and submitted to the AAIU along with a series of follow-up actions to ensure full implementation of the its recommendations.
The AAIU says it has had an opportunity to consider the report in the context of its “wide-ranging investigation into the R116 accident and is happy that its publication does not jeopardise any other element of its ongoing investigation.”
As the report states, the review did not examine the specific circumstances in relation to the Rescue 116 accident and as such, there is no intention to establish any causal link between their findings and the accident.
Speaking upon the publication of the report today (Friday 21 September), Minister Ross said: “I have instructed that all necessary steps be taken without delay to ensure speedy implementation of all of the recommendations.
“As the report explains, search and rescue oversight and regulation is a complex matter, and international regulation is still endeavouring to keep pace with practice on the ground.
“However, we now have an opportunity in Ireland — and a blueprint – to make meaningful improvement to our current oversight structures, and in doing so set a benchmark for other jurisdictions.”
The minister said he will continue to provide updates to the AAIU on the progress in implementing these actions.
#SAR - A team appointed to review Irish search and rescue operations in the wake of last year’s fatal Rescue 116 crash has identified “several sources of confusion and potential conflicts of interest among the agencies involved”.
RTÉ News reports on the as-yet unpublished report from an international panel of aviation and SAR experts appointed earlier this year by Transport Minister Shane Ross.
The panel did not examine the Rescue 116 crash at Blackrock, which is subject to its own report, and was tasked only with reviewing matters in relation of “oversight” of Irish SAR operations.
Their report says that confusion over the roles of the various agencies involved in civil aviation SAR has “resulted in a lack of shared understanding of roles and responsibilities”.
RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.
Local gardaí confirmed that the items were brought ashore by fishermen about a mile offshore last Thursday 12 July.
The find comes more than nine months after a lifejacket and helmet believed to be from the downed Sikorsky S-92 helicopter washed up on a beach near Blacksod in Co Mayo.
It also comes 16 months after the tragedy that took the lives of four Irish Coast Guard personnel.
Capt Dara Fitzpatrick died shortly after she was recovered from the scene at Black Rock on 14 March 2017. The body of Capt Mark Duffy was recovered almost two weeks later.
Winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith were lost at sea.
The Air Accident Investigation Unit’s probe of the incident remains ongoing.
The team, led by former European Aviation Safety Agency rulemaking director Prof Jules Kneepkens, includes former Bristol Helicopters coastguard SAR commander Rowan Greenwood, and Milen Dentchev, safety oversight auditor with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
They have been given two months to report back to the minister with their findings.
The appointment follows March’s interim report from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) into the tragedy at Black Rock off Co Mayo on 14 March 2017, which cost the lives of four experienced Irish Coast Guard personnel.
Capt Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered at the scene but died shortly after. The body of Capt Mark Duffy was found almost two weeks later, while winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith were not recovered.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the AAIU called for “a thorough review of search and rescue aviation operations in Ireland” as its own investigation into the Rescue 116 incident remains ongoing after more than a year due to its “depth and breadth”.
Minister Ross says the review’s term of reference will “take account of the various findings made in the AAIU’s interim statement in relation to oversight.”
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
#Rescue116 - The 43rd annual People of the Year awards tomorrow night (Sunday 15 April) will see honours go to the Irish Coast Guard as a tribute to the crew of Rescue 116, as BreakingNews.ie reports.
In addition, the people of Erris in Co Mayo will be noted for their contributions to the search and rescue operation following the tragic loss of the helicopter’s four crew — Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith — on 14 March 2017.
“The selfless actions of those who put their lives on the line, for the safety of others, means Caitríona, Dara, Ciáran, Mark and Paul will remain an inspiration to us all,” said Gerard O’Flynn, search and rescue operations manager with the Irish Coast Guard.
All five are set to feature in a new commemorative stamp colllection next year, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.