Monday 11 December 2017

Helmet and lifejacket 'belonging to missing Rescue 116 crewman' wash up on shore

The crew of Rescue 116; (left to right) Paul Ormsby, Mark Duffy, Dara Fitzpatrick and Ciaran Smith,
The crew of Rescue 116; (left to right) Paul Ormsby, Mark Duffy, Dara Fitzpatrick and Ciaran Smith,
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A helmet and lifejacket believed to belong to one of the missing Rescue 116 crew members have washed up on a Co Mayo shore.

Gardaí have confirmed that the items were discovered by a member of the public in the townland of Elly near Clogher at approximately 8am on Saturday.

Missing: Ciaran Smith
Missing: Ciaran Smith

Tests will now be carried out to establish if they belong to missing rescue worker Ciaran Smith (38).

No trace of Mr Smith or his colleague Paul Ormsby (53) has been found since their Coastguard helicopter Rescue 116 crashed into Blackrock island in the early hours of March 14 last.

The remains of their colleagues - captain Dara Fitzpatrick and captain Mark Duffy - were recovered in the aftermath of the tragedy.

A number of search operations have been carried out across the coast since the tragedy but the remains of Mr Smith and Mr Ormsby have not been located.

This latest find is the first major breakthrough in a the last number of months and is likely to lead to further searches in the area.

A garda spokesman confirmed that the items were handed over to them yesterday however detectives have not officially confirmed if they belong to the missing crew man.

A source said" "They would appear to have been those of Ciaran Smith, however tests need to be carried out to establish this definitively."

Mr Smith's sister Orla previously spoke of the ongoing torment for her family.

In April she told Independent.ie  "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."

Ireland's Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) has established that the Sikorksy S-92's internal warning system did not include the 80m (262ft) high rocky outcrop and its working lighthouse in its database.

The search and rescue helicopter crashed after hitting Blackrock Island while coming back from supporting a mission for an injured trawlerman out in the Atlantic.

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