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