Irish Coast Guards launch 'one of the largest searches ever undertaken' in search for missing crewmen
A major sea search is due to take place today for the two missing Rescue 116 crew members.
Coast Guard, gardaí, RNLI, and local fishermen are expected to take part in the sea search from Achill Island in Mayo to Aranmore Island, Donegal today.
Crewmen Ciarán Smith (38) and Paul Ormsby (53) have still not been found since their Rescue 116 helicopter crashed into Black Rock island in the early hours of March 14.
The decision was taken to carry out a search following a meeting between representatives from each of the groups. It was due to commence at approximately 9am this morning.
The statement, released by Erris Inshore Fishermen's Association, continued: "Safety is paramount in this entire operation, for this reason we are asking all vessels intending to engage in the sea search to check in on the morning of the search with their local RNLI Lifeboat or Coast Guard vessel.
"Upon completion of search, all vessels must report back to the lifeboat or coast guard vessel to confirm completion of search." The statement said this is to ensure that all vessels return safely to harbour.
Those taking part are also advissed that is it is mandatory for all taking part to wear life jackets. "We would also ask for your cooperation to obey any instructions given by the RNLI or Coast Guard."
Earlier this week Mr Smith's sister made a desperate appeal for help searching for them.
"To all fishing vessels big and small. From Achill Island to Aran Mór. We are appealing to them to please come to help us now. We need them, we need their knowledge and we need them in the ongoing efforts to find Ciarán and Paul," she told Independent.ie.
"We need them and we need their help. We want them to go out and look in a co-ordinated fashion.
"It is a living nightmare for all of us. For all of my family and Paul Ormsby's family it is a living nightmare.
"We're doing our best to keep going, to stay as strong as possible and to stay as positive as we can.
"But it is tough, it is really, really tough. We need those boys home now. We really do.
"My parents need them home, my sister-in-law needs him home. My nieces need him home. They have to come home now."
In a statement the Irish Coast Guards said they are asking all mariners in the Donegal/Mayo area to keep a "good look out for any debris in the course of their routine activities and to report any findings to the Malin Head Coast Guard Coordination Centre".
The Coast Guard also reiterated the importance of adherence to basic safety by all searchers be they afloat or on shore.
The expressed their ongoing appreciation to the many volunteers supporting the search in particular, Coast Guard members, the RNLI and Civil Defence as well as the tremendous local community support.