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Sunday 30 April 2017

Families join search for missing crewmen

Fishing boats join the search for missing Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 crew members Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby Photo: Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Fishing boats join the search for missing Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 crew members Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby Photo: Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

The brother and sister of Rescue 116 winch operator Ciaran Smith were among a group of 400 people who took part in a search for the missing helicopter crew members yesterday.

Orla and Sean Smith were on one of the 120 boats and fishing trawlers that scoured a 1,000 square mile area off the west coast.

Sean and Orla Smith, whose brother Ciaran is missing, board a fishing boat to join the search at Ballyglass, Belmullet, Co Mayo Photo: Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Sean and Orla Smith, whose brother Ciaran is missing, board a fishing boat to join the search at Ballyglass, Belmullet, Co Mayo Photo: Keith Heneghan / Phocus

Local fishermen joined forces with the Irish Underwater Council, RNLI, Navy and the Coast Guard but the co-ordinated search failed to find any trace of Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby.

This Tuesday will mark the fourth week since Rescue 116 went down near Black Rock, 12km off the Mayo coast. A preliminary report on the crash is imminent.

The area around Black Rock island remains key to the search with the Marine Institute's underwater remotely operated vehicle working through last night searching for the missing bodies.

Locals from nearby fishing communities have not ruled out a second extensive search of the area with the hope that the bodies have yet to surface.

A Coast Guard spokesman said the search will continue today. He said: "Area surveillance will go on using our own Coast Guard helicopters or Air Corps assets with surface searching by RNLI and the Navy ship LE Ciara, shoreline searching by Coast Guard volunteers and Civil Defence volunteers and the sub-surface work that is being conducted by marine institute specialists in conjunction with the Garda and the Air Accident Investigations Unit on board the Irish Lights vessel the Granuaile."

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