Sunday 23 April 2017

Hopes that break in weather will allow search for black box of Rescue 116 today

The crew of Rescue 116; (left to right) Paul Ormsby, Mark Duffy, Dara Fitzpatrick and Ciaran Smith,
The crew of Rescue 116; (left to right) Paul Ormsby, Mark Duffy, Dara Fitzpatrick and Ciaran Smith,
HAZARD: Black Rock Lighthouse, 12km off Blacksod Picture: Steve Humphreys
The coffin of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick arrives for her funeral service. Photo: David Conachy
The family of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick carry her coffin out of the church. Photo: David Conachy
President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny among the mourners. Photo: David Conachy
The coffin of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick arrives for her funeral service. Photo: David Conachy
President Higgins arrives at the funeral of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Photo: David Conachy
The family of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick carry her coffin out of the church. Photo: David Conachy
The family of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick carry her coffin out of the church. Photo: David Conachy
Mourners gather for the funeral of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick. Photo: David Conachy
Mourners gather for the funeral of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick. Photo: David Conachy
The family of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick carry her coffin out of the church. Photo: David Conachy
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

RESCUE workers in Co Mayo are hoping that a calming in weather conditions later today will allow them to resume their search for the black box of Rescue 116.

Poor weather conditions off the west coast have hampered the search over the weekend - heavy swells in Blacksod prevented boats from getting near the site where the signal from the recorder has been detected.

There is a break in the weather expected later today, which could provide a crucial three hour window for investigators.

However conditions will still be poor, and it is expected only preparatory work will be carried out.

Investigators believe it will still be several days before weather conditions allow more detailed underwater exploration to take place at the site.

Shoreline searches are continuing along some 20 kilometres of the north Mayo coast from Blacksod to Annagh Head.

The search has been narrowed to a 100 metre by 80 metre section of the ocean around Blackrock lighthouse, around 13km offshore from Blacksod, where the aircraft was to land to refuel moments before it vanished.

The detection of a black box signal in that area has raised hopes that the bulk of the wreckage can be found along with the three remaining crew members.

The Dublin-based helicopter crew was providing cover for another Coast Guard helicopter involved in an early-morning evacuation of a crewman around 240km off the west coast.

It had flown directly to the scene from Dublin, travelled around 16km out to sea, then turned back towards land to refuel.

There was no indication of any danger moments before it vanished, with the crew's final transmission: "Shortly landing at Blacksod."

Captain Mark Duffy, Winch Operator Paul Ormsby and Winchman Ciarán Smith all remain missing.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was laid to rest in Dublin yesterday.

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