Minister for Defence: Aviation Authority must be given space to investigate Rescue 116 tragedy

Minister for Defence: Aviation Authority must be given space to investigate Rescue 116 tragedy
Coast Guard, Gardai and members of the community gathered at the Sundial in Blackrock, Co Louth for a candle lit vigil for the crew of Rescue 116. Pic: Ciara Wilkinson

The Minister for Defence has asked for the Aviation Authority to be given the space it needs to investigate the Rescue 116 tragedy.

Search efforts will continue today despite expected poor weather conditions, while the funeral of captain Dara Fitzpatrick is currently taking place in Glencullen.

Three members of the crew remain missing after the helicopter accident on Monday night.

Speaking from the Golan Heights, Paul Kehoe has offered his condolences: “The loss of Rescue 1116 has deeply moved absolutely everybody out here.”

He also said his department is working to deal with a recruitment crisis in the Air Corps.

Paul Kehoe acknowledged the Air Corps was unable to support the rescue mission which Rescue 116 was later called out on.

“There was a huge uptake of both pilots and air-traffic controllers within the private sector, but we are fixing that issue within the Air Corps at the moment. We have currently 28 cadets in three different classes undergoing various stages of their cadetship.

“I hope to have the air traffic control issue sorted out within the next two to three months.”

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