Thursday 21 November 2019

Irish father-of-one (33) dies in US helicopter crash

Staff Sgt. Liam A. Flynn died when a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter in Florida.
Staff Sgt. Liam A. Flynn died when a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter in Florida.
Crews gather at a boat ramp on Santa Rosa Sound to search waters around the Navarre Bridge following the crash of a military helicopter, east of Pensacola, Florida. Reuters/Michael Spooneybarger
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Irishman has died in a helicopter crash in the US.

Liam Flynn (33), a US marine from Clane, Co Kildare, died in a crash involving an Army Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off Florida's Gulf Coast on Tuesday night (local time).

Mr Flynn is survived by his wife Destiny, his one-year-old daughter Laliane, his parents Billy and Ann Flynn, and his six sisters and three brothers.

The father-of one died when the helicopter plunged into the sea in Florida during a training exercise in foggy conditions.

He was one of seven Marines and four soldiers who died in the crash.

The father-of-one was a respected marine who had visited Afghanistan and Iraq. He had been a member of the US military for 12 years and lived in North Caroline with his wife and daughter.

In a tribute to Mr Flynn, local priest Fr Paul O’Boyle said the young man had last visited Ireland four years ago. He was a very talented sportsperson, he said.

“He was a very talented young man at all sports, particularly football and hurling.”

“He was absolutely very happy in his life and his work, and he loved what he was doing. He was very committed to it.”

Fr O'Boyle said the Flynn family is being comforted by friends in the local community. A memorial mass is scheduled to take place in Clane parish church at 11.30am on Sunday, while his funeral will take place in the US at a later date.

“His family are very well respected and well known in the Clane area. It’s a great shock to the wider area. The local community have been a great support to the family over the last few days.”

“The family are lovely people. They’re trying to come to terms with it. It’s a very difficult tragedy,” Fr O'Boyle said.

Mr Flynn and his other Marine colleagues were part of a special operations unit from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

They were conducting training involving "helicopter and boat insertion and extraction" with an experienced Army air crew providing the helicopter support, a Marine Corps spokesman said.

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