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Ryan appoints new review board into helicopter tragedy


Eamon Ryan. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Eamon Ryan. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Eamon Ryan. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has appointed a new review board into the Air Accident Investigation Unit's (AAIU) final report on the Rescue 116 helicopter crash.

The review experienced a setback last month when the technical adviser Philip Hanson, an aviation expert with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, stood down over a potential conflict of interest.

However, Mr Ryan has established a new board to review aspects of the unpublished AAIU final report into the crash, which claimed the lives of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy and winch team Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith off the north Mayo coast in March 2017.

The minister has opted to reappoint senior counsel Patrick McCann as chairman and sole member of the review, following legal advice from the Attorney General. Mr McCann was chair of the previous review which was established by former Transport Minister Shane Ross earlier this year, and Mr Hanson was appointed as technical expert.

In a parliamentary response to Galway West Independent TD Catherine Connolly, the transport minister says the new timeframe for the re-examination of the final report is "a matter for the chairperson to determine" as the board is "entirely independent".

Relatives of the four air crew are now waiting over three-and-a half years for the final report into the Sikorsky S-92 collision, which occurred at Blackrock island while the helicopter was approaching Blacksod lighthouse to refuel.

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