Latest: Air Accident Investigation Unit defends publication of audio transcript from Rescue 116 helicopter

Update 10.20pm: The Air Accident Investigation Unit has defended its decision to publish the final words of the crew of Rescue 116.

It follows strong criticism from the Irish Air Line Pilots' Association, who said there was no justification for releasing the last minutes of the transcript from the helicopter before it crashed off Mayo last month.

In a statement tonight, the Air Accident Investigation Unit said it was satisfied that best international practice was followed and that the release of that section of the transcript was deemed 'very relevant'.

Captain Evan Cullen from the Irish Airline Pilots' Association says it was unacceptable and counterproductive to flight safety.

"It is against international rules, it is against EU regulations, that that transcript was published.

"I think it would seek to undermine the credibility of the investigation.

"We're calling in the AAIU, the Air Accident Investigation Unit, to stick to the agreement that the Irish Government signed up to - we're asking them to obey the EU regulations."

Earlier: A group representing Irish pilots has criticised the publication by the Air Accident Investigation Unit of the final minutes of the transcript from Coastguard helicopter Rescue 116.

The helicopter went down near Blackrock Island off the coast of Mayo on March 14, claiming the lives of all four crew.

Last week, the full transcript of the audio recorded by the black box on the flight was released and published widely.

Captain Evan Cullen, President of The Irish Air Lines Pilot's Association, said: "The publication of the information should be on the basis of improving and enhancing flight safety.

"This investigation has to be based on preventing a future accident."


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