Sunday 25 March 2018

Irish Coast Guard ready to provide help in search for missing helicopter

A Irish Coast Guard helicopter. Photo: Steve Humphreys
A Irish Coast Guard helicopter. Photo: Steve Humphreys Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Irish Coast Guard stand ready to provide support in the search for a missing helicopter off the Irish Sea.

Spokesman Declan Geoghegan said they were contacted yesterday to provide help after the Airbus/Eurocopter Twin Squirrel helicopter vanished off radar in the Caernarfon Bay area.

Mr Geoghegan said they scanned their maritime frequency bands to see if the helicopter had made any contact but there was no information on it.

The search is now land-based in north Wales with mountain rescue teams scanning the area.

"We haven't been requested for any assets as of yet. However if we are we would certainly task a helicopter to the area if they wish."

He explained that the Waterford, Sligo and Shannon based helicopters are available for the short flight to that area.

He said the missing helicopter, with five people on board, contacted Weston airport at around 11.30am yesterday "to say they would be late".

"They had given their previous ETA and then adjusted that for a stopover. They had intended flying directly to Dublin and then they had adjusted their flight plan.

"They contacted Weston to say their flight was around an hour late and after that no more was heard."

The incident comes just two weeks after and Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 vanished off the coast of Mayo with four crew on board.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick (45) and Captain Mark Duffy (51) died in the tragedy.

Searches for winch operator Paul Ormbsy (53) and Ciaran Smith (38) are continuing in Blacksod.

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