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Author: Ex Pat   Date: 3/14/2017 11:01:36 AM  +0/-1   Show Orig. Msg (this window) Or  In New Window

Very Sad. Rest in Peace Boys and Girls.



The Coast Guard has confirmed that the crew member recovered after this morning's helicopter crash has died. 

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was a senior pilot with the Coast Guard and had over 20 years' experience. 

At a briefing at Blacksod lighthouse, Gerard O'Flynn, the search and rescue operations manager with the Irish Coast Guard confirmed the fatality.

He said the news was a hammer blow to the emergency services. 

Captain Fitzpatrick had been transferred to Mayo University Hospital after being found in a critical condition.

She was a well-known member of the Coast Guard service and was also involved in several water safety campaigns.

Earlier, Mr Flynn said there was no prior warning before a search and rescue helicopter went missing off the Co Mayo coast in the early hours of this morning.

He said there has been no indication about what happened, and that the Air Accident Investigation Unit will be conducting a full investigation into the incident.

"This was a shock, the helicopter just simply disappeared. Communications was lost. Once communications was lost, an emergency procedure was initiated, a search was immediately initiated. But it was just a sudden break in communication and there was no prior warning of any particular problem," he said. 

Garda divers are expected at the site where the search operation to find three helicopter crew members is continuing.

The major sea search is being carried out around 10km west of Blacksod, Co Mayo after the search and rescue helicopter with four crew on board lost contact around 1am.

It was providing cover for another Coast Guard helicopter on a mission at the time.

Rescue personnel say small amounts of debris have been found on the sea surface. It is understood that a fuel tank from the missing helicopter may have been located.

The LÉ Róisín arrived in the search zone just before 9am to assist.

Conditions at sea are described as quite good, with Force-5 winds at present.

However, the weather is expected to deteriorate later this afternoon and currents in the area where the search is concentrated are said to be adding some complications to the operation.

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S92 down +0/-0 Irish Cougar 3/14/2017 5:06:14 AM
       S92 down  +0/-1 Ex Pat 3/14/2017 11:01:36 AM