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Displaying items by tag: Rescue 116

#Rescue116 - A lifejacket and helmet washed up on a beach near Blacksod in Co Mayo this weekend may belong to one of the two missing crew from the Rescue 116 tragedy earlier this year, as RTÉ News reports.

The items, which were attached together, were discovered on the shore near An Clochar yesterday morning (Saturday 30 September).

A detailed search of the area has been hampered by poor weather, with no other items found.

Winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith have been missing since the Irish Coast Guard helicopter went down at the island of Black Rock, west of Blacksod, on 14 March.

Capt Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered at the scene but was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after. The body of Capt Mark Duffy was recovered some days later.

Elsewhere, the body of a middle-aged man was found washed up on Inis Meáin in Galway Bay last night.

RTÉ News says the discovery comes almost a fortnight to the day after a Russian national was swept into the water while sea angling near Doonbeg, some 36km south of the Aran Islands.

There was better news for the families of two fishermen feared missing in Galway Bay overnight, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Aran Islands RNLI and the Shannon-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 115 were involved in the search last night and early this morning for the pair when they were reported overdue.

But the search was called off around 10.30am when the small fishing boat, which has suffered technical issues in “challenging” conditions, returned to port under its own power.

Rescue 115 was earlier requested for a medevac from Inis Mór to University Hospital Galway.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds has paid tribute to the lives lost in the Rescue 116 and Kilkee tragedies ahead of his return from secondment in Somalia.

“The Coast Guard has lost five colleagues to accident and one, Daithi O’Cearbhallain, to cancer. I’ve lost six good friends,” said Reynolds, according to The Irish Sun.

“Not being at home and with my team in the Coast Guard has been very, very difficult,” he added.

“My first intention on my return in October is to visit our volunteer teams, co-ordination centres and helicopter bases to listen and understand how we will move forward.”

Reynolds was seconded to Somalia in July 2016 as part of an EU maritime security mission in the Horn of Africa.

Two months after his departure, coastguard volunteer Caitriona Lucas died during a search operation in Kilkee when her RIB capsized.

Six months later, Rescue 116 crashed at Black Rock in Co Mayo, claiming the lives of its four crew. Capt Dara Fitzpatrick and Capt Mark Duffy were recovered, but the bodies of winch men Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith were not found.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue - A mother and her two children were rescued from a sea cave at Silver Strand yesterday afternoon (Saturday 29 July) in a joint operation between Wicklow RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard.

The two children had got into difficulty while swimming at the popular beach south of Wicklow Head, and their mother rushed to their aid – only for the three of them to be swept into a nearby cave.

Wicklow RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched at 4.40pm and arrived on scene with the Dublin-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 116, which lowered a winchman onto the beach to locate the casualties.

The Wicklow lifeboat followed shortly after, and helm Graham Fitzgerald brought the rescue vessel close to shore where the lifeboat crew spotted three people and the winchman in a cave.

Weather conditions in the area were windy, with a southerly Force 4 and high breaking surf at the mouth of the cave.

After an assessment by the winchman and lifeboat helm, it was decided that the winchman would lead the casualties to the adjoining cave, as rocks at the entrance would impede getting the boat close to shore.

Once the casualties were in the other cave, the lifeboat crew brought the boat onto the beach and all three were transferred to the lifeboat along with the coastguard winchman.

The mother and her two daughters were believed to have been on a day trip to the beach when they decided to go for a swim and one of them got into difficultly. Her sister had tried to help, but also got into trouble. 

The mother then entered the water to help her daughters, which resulted in all three of them ending up in the cave.

The winchman, a trained paramedic, assessed the three casualties on the lifeboat and they were brought to Wicklow Harbour, where they were given hot drinks.

Wicklow RNLI were involved in a similar rescue at Silver Stand in 2014 when the lifeboat was called out to rescue a woman who had been swept into a cave after getting into difficulty swimming.

Published in Rescue

#Rescue116 - The Commissioners of Irish Lights aids to navigation tender ILV Granuaile is to carry out a four-day ROV search operation beginning this weekend at the site of the Rescue 116 helicopter crash off Black Rock Lighthouse. 

The ILV Granuaile had previously assisted in Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations following the helicopter crash, which took place on 14 March with the tragic loss of four Irish Coast Guard crew from helicopter Rescue 116. The ROV supplied from the Marine Institute will be used to conduct search and recovery efforts of the two crew members still missing.

Winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith have been lost at sea since the incident off Mayo’s Mullet Peninsula four months ago and that also claimed the lives of Captains Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy.

An interim report investigating the incident took place in April. It is hoped that the favourable conditions for this weekend will aid a fresh search of the waters around Black Rock for the two Irish Coast Guard personnel.

Currently the ILV Granuaile is carrying out a contract for scientific research operations in waters up to 2,500 metres depth off the Irish continental shelf.

On completion of such duties en route back to Galway, ILV Granuaile will carry out ROV operations off the Co. Mayo lighthouse.

Operations will be directed by An Garda Siochána and are scheduled to begin tomorrow and conclude early next week on Tuesday 25th July.

Published in Lighthouses
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#Rescue116 - Favourable conditions this weekend will aid a fresh search of the waters around Black Rock for the two Irish Coast Guard personnel still missing after the Rescue 116 tragedy four months ago.

Winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith have been lost at sea since the incident off Mayo’s Mullet Peninsula on 14 March that also claimed the lives of Captains Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy.

The forecast for this weekend is expected to allow for new searches of Black Rock by the Garda Water Unit’s diving team, according to TheJournal.ie.

It’s also hoped that the search might turn up additional evidence to help with the investigation into the helicopter crash, such as one of the aircraft’s engines believed to be on the sea bed.

Earlier this week, RTÉ’s Prime Time reported that the coastguard’s helicopter operators were made aware four years ago of the absence of data on Black Rock from the fleet’s mapping computers.

It also emerged this week that the Irish Coast Guard is yet to acquire a permanent replacement for the crashed Sikorsky S-92 that flew under the Rescue 116 code, as The Times reports.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#Rescue116 - A new report reveals that the absence of data on Black Rock from Rescue 116’s onboard warning system was flagged with the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter operators years before the fatal crash earlier this year.

Captains Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy, along with winch operator Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby, died after their Sikorsky S-92 went down at the small Co Mayo island, west of Blacksod on the Mullet Peninsula, in the early hours of 14 March 2017.

Four months on and despite exhaustive searches of the area, the remains of Smith and Ormsby have not been found.

April's interim report into the tragedy suggested that the helicopter had been flying using a pre-programmed route that was missing specific data relating to Black Rock, while en route to a planned refuelling stop at Blacksod.

Now a report from RTÉ’s Prime Time says the issue of the missing data was raised four years ago with a senior manager at CHC Ireland, which won the 10-year, €500 million contract to operate Ireland’s helicopter SAR services in 2012.

The Irish fleet of long-range SAR helicopters was equipped with an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, or EGPWS, in 2013.

That year, Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard pilots noted that Black Rock was missing from the EGPWS during routine test flights in the area.

However, Prime Time learned from a source that weeks after the incident, coastguard staff were told management were looking  into whether that information had been passed on to those responsible for updating the system’s obstacle database.

That same database was found just days after the Black Rock accident to have incorrect information for Skellig Michael, listing it as just 56m rather than its actual 217m height, though this has since been corrected.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue116 - More than 100 divers have joined a major search since early this morning (Saturday 22 April) for Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith, the two Irish Coast Guard crew members still missing after the Rescue 116 tragedy over a month ago.

According to The Irish Times, an exclusion zone around the wreck site at Black Rock off Co Mayo has been lifted for the search, thought to be the largest ever co-ordinated dive in the history of the State.

Naval Service and Garda divers are joined by specialists in sub-sea search and recovery in combing the sea bed of at the western and south-western parts of the island, following the completion of a ‘360-degree’ terrain survey by the Army and Garda crime scene examiners.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue116 - The interim report from the investigation into the Rescue 116 tragedy has found that the Irish Coast Guard helicopter “pitched up rapidly” in its final seconds before crashing off Co Mayo a month ago.

Data recovered from the Sikorsky S-92’s ‘black box’ paints a terrifying picture of the seconds before the coastguard helicopter was lost at Black Rock in the early hours of Tuesday 14 March, with one of the crew calling for evasive action as the island loomed dead ahead.

Moreover, details in the Air Accident Investigation Unit’s (AAIU) preliminary report suggest the aircraft was flying using a pre-programmed route that was missing specific data relating to Black Rock, a small island east of Blacksod on the Mullet Peninsula.

Recordings from the cockpit also reveal that neither the mission commander and pilot Capt Dara Fitzpatrick nor co-pilot Capt Mark Duffy, whose lives were lost in the incident, had recent familiarity with landing in the area.

The Dublin-based coastguard SAR helicopter had been dispatched late on Monday 13 March to provide top cover for an offshore medevac being attended by Sligo’s Rescue 118.

Contact was lost with Rescue 116 as it approached Blacksod for refuelling and a search began immediately, with wreckage soon spotted off the western end of Black Rock and Capt Fitzpatrick recovered from the water within hours of the crash, though she later died in hospital.

Capt Duffy’s remains were recovered from the cockpit on the sea bed more than a week later. The search continues for their crew mates, winch men Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby, though after a major sweep by more than 100 fishing vessels this last weekend, the operation is now being wound down.

Rescue 116’s dual flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder was recovered from the sea bed on Friday 24 March. Examination of the hardware revealed water damage to its memory board, requiring delicate desoldering of its circuits to recover the data, a process that is ongoing at the AAIB laboratory in the UK.

Additional data recovered from the aircraft’s Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) identified no diagnostic alerts regarding Rescue 116’s critical systems or components.

Position data from the HUMS card was used to generate a placemark for what appears to be the last recorded position of the aircraft, though in its final seconds it was “subjected to complicated flight dynamics and a progressive deterioration of structural and systems integrity”.

All available data adds up to the following picture of the situation inside Rescue 116 before its loss:

  • The mission commander and pilot (Capt Dara Fitzpatrick) was seated right of the co-pilot (Capt Mark Duffy) in the cockpit.
  • All crew communications were mission-focused with no outside distractions.
  • The helicopter routed from Dublin towards Sligo, then adjusted heading based on fuel requirements to Blacksod Lighthouse before a planned routing to the SAR mission offshore.
  • After a crew briefing prior to arrival at Blacksod, Capt Fitzpatrick remarked that it has been some time since she had landed at Blacksod; Capt Duffy later said he had also not been to the area recently.
  • The cockpit voice recording contains no reference by the crew to the presence of a lighthouse or terrain at Black Rock.
  • The recording also indicates that Capt Duffy was using the helicopter’s weather radar to identify terrain features.
  • 26 seconds before impact, the radio altitude sensor gave an aural alert, which Capt Fitzpatrick explained as “just a small little island... that’s B L M O [referring to Black Rock] itself”. Data places the aircraft at this time near an outcrop of two rocks just over half a nautical mile west of Black Rock.
  • 13 seconds before impact, one of the rear crew members identified an island “directly ahead of us now guys” and suggested the helicopter should “come right” by “20 degrees”.
  • Data shows the heading change was made before the rear crewman added with urgency to “come right now come right COME RIGHT”. A second later, Capt Duffy said: “We’re gone.”
  • Two seconds before initial impact, data shows the helicopter pitched nose up, then after impact climbed with large changes in pitch, roll and yaw.

The recorded data, while not definitive, indicates that the flight crew was using an operator-specific route guide — a review of which is now warranted, says the AAIU.

The report also includes a recommendation to review instructions for the use of locator beacons on the Mk 44 lifejackets used by the crew, two of whom remain missing four weeks after the incident.

The AAIU investigation continues, but the preliminary report is available in full as a PDF to download below.

Update 15 April 2017: This article was changed to correct a misattribution of the final quote by Capt Mark Duffy to his colleague Capt Dara Fitzpatrick. The original article also misstated the designation of the pilot (and mission commander) and co-pilot.

Published in Coastguard

#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.”

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue116 - No sign of missing Irish Coast Guard crew members Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith has been found after search teams succeeded in lifting the wreck of Rescue 116 off the sea bed yesterday (Sunday 2 April), as TheJournal.ie reports.

The wreckage was prepared for removal for technical examination by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), which confirmed on Saturday (1 April) that there were “no mechanical anomalies” identified on first analysis of the Sikorsky S-92’s ‘black box’ recovered over a week ago.

The coastguard helicopter with four crew on board went down off Black Rock, west of the Mullet Penisula in Co Mayo, on 14 March while providing top cover for an offshore medevac.

Capt Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered in the hours after the incident but later died in hospital. The body of her colleague Capt Mark Duffy was recovered from the aircraft’s cockpit almost a fortnight later on 26 March.

Published in Coastguard
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