Fresh efforts to locate missing Rescue 116 crewmen begin today

Fresh efforts are getting underway this morning to locate the bodies of missing Rescue 116 crewmen Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith.

The Garda Water Unit is working with a specially adapted fishing vessel near Blackrock Island off the north Mayo coast.

The Coastguard helicopter crashed into the sea after hitting the island during an operation earlier this year.

The bodies of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy were recovered - but no trace has been found of the other crew members.

Photo Journalist Fergus Sweeney - who is based in Blacksod - is following the latest recovery efforts.

"The motor fishing vessel Westbound is in Blacksod, and they're going to head out to Blackrock Lighthouse, and they're going to trawl the waters in and around Blackrock Lighthouse," he said.

"They will have a predetermined grid and an area that they will search and the hope there is that they can trawl the sandy bottom and hopefully come across the remains."

While the helicopter’s main fuselage has been recovered, one of its engines is still on the seabed.

The bodies of pilots, Capt Dara Fitzpatrick and Capt Mark Duffy have already been recovered.

Smaller items of debris have been washed ashore in recent weeks, including a piece of a stretcher board.

They have all been gathered and catalogued by gardaí at Belmullet, and air accident investigators have been notified.


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