Plans to raise Rescue 116 helicopter wreckage suspended due to deteriorating weather conditions
- Plans to raise wreckage suspended
- Search for two missing Coast Guard members to continue tomorrow
- Hopes to raise aircraft at 2pm tomorrow
Plans to raise the wreckage of the Rescue 116 helicopter to allow dive teams to search for two missing Irish Coast Guard members have been suspended due to deteriorating weather conditions.
Rescue workers had hoped to partially lift the main section of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter this evening with the help of flotation devices.
A Naval Service dive team would then be deployed and carry out searches for the two missing crewmen-winch operator Ciaran Smith (38) and winch man Paul Ormsby (53).
However, weather conditions have forced the operation to be postponed with the hope of raising the aircraft at 2pm tomorrow.
Investigators said that flotation devices have been placed underneath the airbag and a Naval Service dive team will be deployed at 11am tomorrow to carry out inspections before searching for the two missing men.
Their colleague, Capt Mark Duffy (51) was brought to shore on Sunday afternoon after Naval Service divers recovered his body from the cockpit of the helicopter wreckage.
A post mortem examination was completed by the State Pathologist this morning and Capt Duffy's remains were returned to Co Louth ahead of his funeral on Thursday morning at St Oliver Plunkett Church, Blackrock.
The fourth crew member, Capt Dara Fitzpatrick (45) was recovered by an RNLI lifeboat but was later pronounced dead.
Supt Tony Healy said that flotation devices would be used to slightly raise the aircraft allowing for examinations of the seabed underneath the wreckage in the hope of locating the missing Irish Coast Guard members.
If the remains are not located then the search area- involving divers from the Garda Water Unit- will be expanded.
Investigators have also revealed that the aircraft's flight recover has suffered corrosive damage but hope to have the information made available to them by the end of this week.
The recorder, commonly refereed to as the 'black box' will form an integral part of the investigation and help the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) determine what led to the tragic collision.
Chief Inspector of the AAIU Jurgen Whyte said that information from the recorder would be available by the end of this week.
"There is some slight corrosion damage to some of the contact points of the recorder. Our English colleagues are consulting with the manufacturer of the recorder but we're confident that by some time towards the end of he week we will be able to extract data from the recorder itself," Mr Whyte said.
Asked if the damage would interfere with retrieving the data, the senior investigator said: "We don't think so. We will have all the connectors in the right place at the right time to ensure that we get a 100pc download.
"We won't do any download until we're fully confident that it's in the right condition to do so."