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Friday 21 July 2017

'Ciaran absolutely blessed my life' - moving speech by widow of R116 hero Ciaran Smith

20 May 2017; Members of Irish Coast Guard make their way to the church. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
20 May 2017; Members of Irish Coast Guard make their way to the church. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
20 May 2017; Cortege of family and friends make their way through guard of honour to the church. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
20 May 2017; Members of Wild Geese GAA club and friends make their way to the church. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
20 May 2017; General view of mourners outside the church during mass. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The widow of hero Rescue 116 crew member Ciaran Smith gave a moving speech on how he changed her life at a remembrance service today.

Hundreds of people attended the memorial service in Oldtown in north county Dublin.

Winchman Ciaran Smith and winch operator Paul Ormsby have been officially missing since Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter 116 crashed off north Mayo in mid-March.

The remains of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and co-pilot Mark Duffy were recovered during search operations.

20 May 2017; General view of mourners outside the church during mass. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
20 May 2017; General view of mourners outside the church during mass. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Efforts to locate their remains have so fair failed.

Speaking at the service his widow Martina said: "Ciaran absolutely blessed my life. My dream was always pretty simple, and that was to have a happy home - and boy I hit the jackpot.

20 May 2017; Members of Irish Coast Guard make their way to the church. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
20 May 2017; Members of Irish Coast Guard make their way to the church. Memorial Mass for Rescue 116's Ciaran Smith. Oldtown Church, Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

"There was nothing bigger or more important to him than his family."

Mourners were earlier told by celebrant Fr Pat Reilly of Ciaran's compassion for others.

Mourned: (from the top left, clockwise) Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, and winchmen Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby
Mourned: (from the top left, clockwise) Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, and winchmen Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby

"He didn't just say the words, he lived the gospel by his actions - by his care, his compassion.

"Starting with his family, and reaching out to care and help other people. He risked his life to save others."

A preliminary report into fatal crash of Coast Guard Rescue helicopter 116 released last month found a vital omission in the aircraft's onboard warning system.

In the report, the Air Accident Investigation Unit says that its initial inquiries have found that an Enhanced Ground Positioning Warning System did not have the 'lighthouse obstacle' included in an obstacle database and that 'the terrain of the island' was not listed on a terrain database.

Examining what happened in the moments before the collision, the report found that 'the helicopter pitched up rapidly, impacted with terrain at the western end of Black Rock and departed from controlled flight.'

The report also contained information from the voice recorder from R116.

In the seconds before the helicopter impacted with Blackrock Island, crew members were heard discussing 'an island directly in front of us' before advice to 'come right' is issued. But three seconds later, the last recorded communication took place.

The AAIU says the inquiry is ongoing and a final report into the accident will be published in due course.

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