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Sunday 22 October 2017

Families won't rest until R116 crew found

Missing: Ciaran Smith
Missing: Ciaran Smith

Rebecca Lumley

A woman whose brother is missing at sea described the "utter devastation" at the thought of never finding his body. Orla Smith is the sister of Irish Coast Guard winchman Ciaran Smith, whose body was never recovered following a tragic helicopter accident earlier this year.

Four crew members were killed when their helicopter crashed off the Mayo coast during a mission last March.

Ms Smith said that while she will "have hope" of finding him for "as long as I live", she has been forced to accept that his body may never be found.

Speaking on RTE Radio One yesterday, she said: "When we went out to look for Ciaran, we were mounting the single biggest sea search in the history of the Irish state. It helped me to realise that maybe we won't get him home, maybe the sea would be his final resting place. And I'm okay with that.

"He is in no way not with us, he's all around us. He's in his three girls, most definitely. And that gives us such strength and keeps us going - but there is still the motivation in me to get his body and put him in a place that we can visit and say our thoughts. I want him home for him. Ciaran was a homebody, he loved being at home."

She was joined on air by Niamh Fitzpatrick, the sister of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, who was also killed along with co-pilot Capt Mark Duffy.

Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby remain missing.

Sunday Independent

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