The establishment of a Review Board to re-examine 'certain findings' of the Draft Final Report of the investigation into the Rescue 116 air accident has been criticised by the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA).
Captain Mark Duffy, from Blackrock, Capt Dara Fitzpatrick and winch team Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith all died when their Sikorsky S-92 helicopter crashed at west of Blacksod, Co Mayo, in March 2017.
A draft report into the crash is now set be reviewed, which the IALPA says 'flies in the face of international practice and will delay vital implementation of safety recommendations.'
Responding to the announcement by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross regarding a re-examination of the Rescue 116 Draft Final Report of the investigation into the accident involving Rescue 116 IALPA president Capt. Evan Cullen expressed 'concern over the ongoing delay in publishing the findings into the high-profile accident.'
He also highlighted 'Ireland's international responsibilities in respect to the publication of air accident reports.'
'Ireland has an obligation to publish the final version of an accident investigation report as quickly as possible to ensure that safety recommendations, potentially applicable to search and rescue operations worldwide, are implemented at the earliest possible opportunity..
'This proposed review will unnecessarily delay the Air Accident Investigation (AAIU) report and any safety recommendations and findings that it may contain. This is vital information which should be put in the public domain without further delay.'
Capt. Cullen said: 'This review does not comply with the standards and recommended practices laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Annex 13 of ICAO sets out how States should investigate or delegate the investigation of accidents which have occurred in their territory.'
'For a country to take the unusual step of deviating from ICAO practice it must file a difference to the ICAO Standards and we do not believe Ireland has taken this step.'
He concluded: "It is fundamental that adherence to international obligations regarding aviation safety recommendations should transcend stakeholder concerns over reputation. Prevention of any future accidents demands no less."