Published on March 14th, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


Dublin based Coast Guard Helicopter missing off the West Coast

Last update 09:10

It has been reported this morning that the Dublin based SAR Helicopter, Rescue 116, was gone missing off the west coast of Mayo. The Coast Guard released the following statement this morning;

“The Coast Guard can confirm that there has been an incident involving one of our Search and Rescue (SAR) Helicopters off the west coast of Ireland.

The search area is being focussed on an area west of Blacksod lighthouse.

At approximately 1am contact was lost with one of our SAR Helicopters. A major sea search is ongoing off the county Mayo coast approximately six miles west of Blacksod. SAR Helicopters from Sligo and Shannon are on scene along with the Air Corps Casa. Ballyglass and Achill all weather lifeboats (ALBs) are on scene along with five local fishing vessels. The Sligo based Coast Guard helicopter R118 completed an early morning medical evacuation (medevac) of a crewman requiring urgent medical attention from a UK registered fishing vessel approximately 150 miles west of Eagle Island in County Mayo. Owing to the distance involved safety and communication support, known as Top Cover, was provided by the second Coast Guard helicopter, the Dublin based R116.

The search operation is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre in Malin Head. Both helicopters refuelled at Blacksod prior to transiting to the scene.”

Shortly before 08:00, national media were reporting that wreckage had been located and one casualty had been recovered in a critical condition. “That person is in a critical condition – we don’t hold out much hope for this person,” Eugene Clonan, acting director of the Irish Coast Guard, told Newstalk 106 listeners this morning. The search is continuing for the remaining three, “This is a dark day for the emergency services”, he said.

The last known position was just west of Black Rock lighthouse, an offshore lighthouse 9NM west southwest of Blacksod lighthouse. Commissioners of Irish Lights.

As of 09:00 this morning, CASA 253 is on scene and has been since 05:15 this morning. The LÉ Róisín is just arriving on scene, Rescue 115 from Shannon has been there since 02:59. It is just departing now (09:00) as the Waterford based Rescue 117 is arriving. Rescue 118, the Sligo based helicopter which was involved in the original mission, returned to Sligo just after 04:30 this morning.

In a statement, Transport Minister Shane Ross expressed deep concern at the news.

“As the search for the Dublin based helicopter R116 is currently underway I would like to express my sincere support and sympathies for all those involved, particularly those family members who are awaiting news of their loved ones.

“This is an extremely difficult time for all concerned.

“As we await further information I would like to appeal for space to be given to the relevant professionals involved in the search operation to complete their work.

“Once again, I send my utmost support to all those affected.”

A search is underway by an Irish Air Corps CASA CN-235 and Rescue 118 from Sligo

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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