By Sarah Slater
The wife of Mark Duffy, who lost his life when Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 crashed off the Co Mayo coast last year, has donated funds raised to support her family to a children’s charity.
Hermione Duffy, a mother of two who lost her 51-year-old husband, who was the co-pilot of the ill-fated helicopter in a crash which also claimed the lives of his three colleagues on board, 19 months ago on March 14, 2017.
They were Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and the winch team on the Sikorsky S-92, Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith. The bodies of Captains Duffy and Fitzpatrick were recovered from the sea soon after the fatal crash.
Despite extensive searches of the seabed, sea surface and shoreline Mr Ormsby and Mr Smith are still missing.
Members of Dublin Airport's Police and Fire Service completed a memorial cycle in remembrance of the crew of Rescue 116 last year.
Airport Police and Fire Service staff, together with members of An Garda Síochána and the Irish Aviation Authority were joined by some family members of the crew Rescue 116 to cycle Dublin Airport's perimeter road seven times, clocking up a total distance of 116km.
Mrs Duffy took to her official Facebook page posting: “Last year the Rescue 116 cycle rode 116km around Dublin airport organised by the Airport Police and Fire Service. The funds raised were divided in four and given to each family.
“….after we decided to give our share to charity, €2,260 was given to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). A charity I have fund raised for before. Mark will know it’s my charity of choice.”
Capt Duffy, from Blackrock, Co Louth was a rescue pilot since 2001 and described it as a “Dream Job”. He was quoted as saying, “when you make a difference, there is no better feeling like that....... it’s priceless”.
Rescue 116 hit rocks on the western end of the island as it returned from supporting a rescue mission of an injured trawler man to refuel on the Mullet peninsula.
The wreckage of the Coast Guard helicopter was brought ashore after it crashed into the Atlantic at 12.46am on March 14 last year close to Blackrock island. The black box was also located.
Blackbox data revealed that the last recorded words of the ill-fated crew of an Irish Coast Guard helicopter were "we're gone”.
The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) established that the Sikorksy S-92's internal warning system did not include the rocky Atlantic outcrop and its working lighthouse in its database.
Investigators have revealed that one of the winch men alerted the pilots to an island as they returned to shore to refuel.