Saturday 21 October 2017

'Outlook for next 24 hours not great' - Weather conditions hampering Rescue 116 search

Paul Cooney from Cavan Civil Defence, Dave O'Sullivan from Mayo Civil Defence and Martina Duffy from Mayo Civil Defence search along the coastline at Annagh Co Mayo for the missing Rescue 116 helicopter and crew. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Paul Cooney from Cavan Civil Defence, Dave O'Sullivan from Mayo Civil Defence and Martina Duffy from Mayo Civil Defence search along the coastline at Annagh Co Mayo for the missing Rescue 116 helicopter and crew. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Collect photo of Blackrock Lighthouse where the search continues for Rescue 116. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Collect photo of Blackrock Lighthouse where the search continues for Rescue 116. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The search continues along the coastline for the missing Rescue 116 helicopter and crew. Photo Steve Humphreys
Jim Murray Mayo Civil Defence prepares to search along the coastline at Annagh Co Mayo for the missing Rescue 116 helicopter and crew with their Matrice 600 Drone. Photo Steve Humphreys
An Irish naval vessel and other boats join the search for an Irish Coast Guard helicopter which went missing off the west coast of Ireland Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Debris from the missing Rescue 116 helicopter is brought back to Blacksod pier from another Coast Guard Helicopter. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The probe into the loss of Coast Guard Rescue 116 helicopter is currently centring on whether 'electrical failure' on the helicopter caused the crash. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Minister Shane Ross speaks to the media at the scene on Blacksod Pier. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Family members gather at Blacksod Pier. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Minister Shane Ross visits Blacksod Pier alongside, from left, Cllr Gerry Coyle, Garda Supt Tony Healy from Belmullet, Gerard O’Flynn, Operations Manager Irish Coast Guard, and Kevin Boxer Moran TD. Photo: Steve Humphreys
An RNLI Lifeboat pictured on its search for missing Coast Guard Crew members at Blacksod Bay. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
The LE Roisin pictured on its search for missing Coast Guard Crew members at Blacksod Bay. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Heavy seas at Blacksod Bay which hampered search efforts for the missing crewmen of THe Coast Guard Helicopter today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Heavy seas at Blacksod Bay which hampered search efforts for the missing crewmen of THe Coast Guard Helicopter today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
A sonar is placed over the side of a boat in the water to track the transponder during the search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
A sonar is placed in the water to track the transponder during the search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017
The search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017

Robin Schiller

Weather conditions over the next 24 hours will make it "difficult" for rescue workers to carry out full-scale searches to find Rescue 116 and its three missing crew.

Specialist sonar equipment was being used to locate the 'black box' which was detected shortly after 4pm yesterday afternoon.

However, due to the weather deteriorating along the west coast the site-scan operation has now been abandoned.

Pilot Mark Duffy and winch men Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby have still not been located after their helicopter Rescue 116 lost communication shortly before 1am on Tuesday morning. Senior pilot Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered but later pronounced dead in hospital.

A senior Irish Coast Guard member said that the next 24 hours would be difficult for the operation due to high swells and wind, but added that they were prepared to act if a window of opportunity arose.

Surface and air searches will be continuing throughout the day. 

A sonar is placed over the side of a boat in the water to track the transponder during the search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash.
Pic Steve Humphreys
15th March 2017
A sonar is placed over the side of a boat in the water to track the transponder during the search and rescue at first light at Blacksod Pier after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2017

Speaking to the media this afternoon, Declan Geoghegan said: "We've just had a meeting there. The weather has taken a turn. It's gone to about six or seven there. The Naval service have been out there all morning the swell has gone up to about six metres so in the interest of safety we've had to abandon the site-scan operation.

"We had it out there this morning but as the weather deteriorated we had to abandon," he said.

"At the moment in relation to getting near (Black Rock) in terms of swell it's horrendous. We would be working in white water which is extremely dangerous for the crews of those small vessels.

"The outlook for the next 24 hours is not great."

The Coast Guard Helicopter Crew at Blacksod Lighthouse this evening. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The Coast Guard Helicopter Crew at Blacksod Lighthouse this evening. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The Coast Guard Helicopter Crew at Blacksod Lighthouse this evening. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The Coast Guard Helicopter Crew at Blacksod Lighthouse this evening. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The Coast Guard Helicopter Crew at Blacksod Lighthouse this evening. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The Coast Guard Helicopter Crew at Blacksod Lighthouse this evening. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
A Coast Guard Helicopter is refulled at Blacksod Lighthouse today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
The Coast Guard Helicopter Crew at Blacksod Lighthouse this evening. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The seach continues at Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
A Coast Guard Helicopter lands at Blacksod Lighthouse today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
A Coast Guard Pilot pictured with a Helicopter at Blacksod Lighthouse today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Gerard O'Flynn, Coast Guard, pictured at Blacksod Lighthouse. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Coastguard Personnel pictured loading helicopter debris into a jeep at Blacksod Lighthouse, Belmullet, today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Boatmen pictured landing helicopter debris at Blacksod Lighthouse, Belmullet, today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
The Garda Water Unit arriving at Blacksod Lighthouse for the search for the missing crew of The Coast Guard Helicopter. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Boatmen pictured landing helicopter debris at Blacksod Lighthouse, Belmullet, today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
The Garda Water Unit pictured preparing to join the search at Blacksod Lighthouse, Belmullet today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Boatmen pictured landing helicopter debris at Blacksod Lighthouse, Belmullet, today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
A Coast Guard Helicopter lands at Blacksod Lighthouse today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Boatmen pictured landing helicopter debris at Blacksod Lighthouse, Belmullet, today. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
BOATMEN PICTURED LANDING HELICOPTER DEBRIS AT BLACKSOD LIGHTHOUSE TODAY. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Coast Guard Members searching for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod lighthouse, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
People watching the lifeboat searching for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod lighthouse, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
The lifeboat searching for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod lighthouse, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
The Ballyglass lifeboat changing crew to continue the search for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod Pier, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
14/03/2017 The Ballyglass lifeboat changing crew to continue the search for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod Pier, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Coastguard searching for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod lighthouse, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Coast Guard Members searching for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod lighthouse, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Coast Guard Members searching for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod lighthouse, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Gardai approaching the Ballyglass lifeboat changing crew to continue the search for a Coast Guard Helicopter Missing at Blacksod Pier, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
The seach continues at Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
The seach continues at Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
Wreckage from the Rescue 116 Helicopter is brought back to Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
Wreckage from the Rescue 116 Helicopter is brought back to Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
Helicopter wreckage is brought back to Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
Wreckage from the Rescue 116 Helicopter is brought back to Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
The seach continues at Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
Wreckage from the Rescue 116 Helicopter is brought back to Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
Wreckage from the Rescue 116 Helicopter is brought back to Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017
Wreckage from the Rescue 116 Helicopter is brought back to Blacksod Pier after the Coastguard Helicopter crash. Pic Steve Humphreys 14th March 2017

Mr Geoghegan also said that an Air Corps helicopter was scheduled to arrive after 1pm with the hope of airlifting rescue workers onto the Black Rock- located approximately 12km off the west coast- where they would search for debris.

"Surface searches are ongoing and we'll be doing a surface search and air search after lunch.

"Also we'll be looking to get into the island with the assistance of the Air Corps helicopter which is due here in about an hour," he said.

"Our own Shannon based helicopter will do a surface search and the RNLI will be doing a pattern search for the next two hours. We're doing a coastal low water search.

"Then we'll assess in two hours time where we'll be looking at a weather window to see if we can resume operations," he added.

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