'They're so selfless in the way they help others... all our prayers are with them'
Just days before tragically going missing off the coast of Mayo, the Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 was involved in another of its many rescue missions in the Wicklow countryside.
The Rescue 116 crew were providing cover for another Coast Guard helicopter involved in a medical evacuation and was returning to base when it fell out of contact in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
A large search and rescue operation was launched immediately in a bid to located the four crew members.
Sadly, it was announced yesterday afternoon that the crew member rescued earlier that morning had passed away.
On Sunday last, the crew of Rescue 116 had dramatically landed in Roundwood to come to the aid of an injured mountain biker.
The crew landed in a field belonging to TD Andrew Doyle just before noon in order to assist the biker who had sustained injuries in a bad fall.
Word soon spread, with local residents gathering to watch the Coast Guard helicopter and crew in action.
'Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave crew members of Rescue 116,' said Deputy Doyle yesterday. 'On Sunday we witnessed firsthand how the whole emergency services interact together. Their level of professionalism was something to behold.
'Anyone who witnessed Sunday's incident couldn't help but be deeply impressed at how the Coast Guard, Mountain Rescue and Ambulance Service all worked together in tandem.
'I couldn't believe when I heard on Tuesday that the helicopter was missing. They are so selfless in the way they help others and provide such an important service. All our prayers are with them,' said Deputy Doyle.