Thursday 16 August 2018

Gardai preparing file for DPP in relation to Rescue 116 helicopter crash

An Post are to release new commemorative stamps to honour the crew members of Rescue 116
An Post are to release new commemorative stamps to honour the crew members of Rescue 116

Robin Schiller

Gardai investigating the Rescue 116 helicopter crash are preparing a file for the DPP to determine if there is any criminal culpability or negligence related to the crash.

The inquest into the tragedy opened in Belmullet, Co Mayo this morning, where coroner Dr Eleanor Fitzgerald heard evidence from a number of different agencies outlining the initial search operation and subsequent investigations. 

The air crew- Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, winchman Ciaran Smith and winch operator Paul Ormsby- died after their Irish Coast Guard helicopter crashed around 12km off the west coast.

At this morning's inquest, death certificates were issued for the four crew including Mr Smith and Mr Ormsby, after the coroner allowed evidence to be heard to formally declare them deceased as missing at sea.

Inspector Gary Walsh, of Belmullet garda station, also told the inquest that a file was being prepared for the DPP by Gardai in conjunction with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

This, Insp Walsh said, is to determine if there is any criminal culpability or negligence in the case.

However, the senior investigator also said that there is a delay in the investigation as Gardai are still awaiting documentation pertinent to their inquiry.

The preliminary inquest also heard that the cause of death for Dara Fitzpatrick was drowning, while Mark Duffy passed away from multiple injuries. 

Dr Fitzgerald adjourned the inquest until a later date to allow for the various investigations into the tragedy to be completed.

A preliminary statement into the crash was issued by the Air Accident Investigation last month, but a full report into the incident is not expected to be completed for a number of months.

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