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Search resumes for missing Rescue 116 crew men off Blackrock Island, Co Mayo

Irish Mirror logoIrish Mirror 17/07/2017 Aoife Nic Ardghail

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Garda divers will begin fresh searches for the bodies of missing Coast Guard heroes Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby today after the mission was called off over the weekend due to bad weather.

Choppy conditions delayed the operation to find the two men who lost their lives in the tragic Rescue 116 helicopter crash off the Mayo coastline earlier this year.

The bodies of the other crew members, Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy, were recovered in the days after their helicopter came down at Blackrock Island on March 14.

The plan is that members of the Garda Sub Aqua team will set up base on a fishing vessel that’s been kitted with a specially-made net.

The vessel will then trawl some of the areas around the scene of the horror crash.

Volunteers on the ground will do a search of their own that follows the sea mission, in case any material of interest is washed up on shore.

The search trawler was due to complete work around the Blackrock area to learn more about the type of seabed facing the operation.

In a shocking reveal last week, it emerged on RTE’s Prime Time that a pilot who had carried out test flights on the helicopter had reported Blackrock Island missing from the onboard warning system four years ago.

Credits: Keith Heneghan / Phocus © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Keith Heneghan / Phocus

The pilot had flagged the lethal error but it was not corrected, with fatal consequences for all four crew in last March’s heartbreaking incident.

The Rescue 116 crew members did not see Blackrock Island until is was too late.

The RTE programme also revealed that a private operator had taken over the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue service in 2012 and fitted out all machines with an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS).

The EGPWS usually warns pilots it they’re getting too close to an obstacle but it only works if its database has a complete picture of the flight path.

But now all potential obstacles posing a danger off the Irish coastline have been addressed, according to retired Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Byrne who was speaking on another RTE news programme.

More: Today's national newspaper front pages [Irish Press Titles]

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