Report sparked by Rescue 116 helicopter crash finds 'confusion' among search and rescue agencies

Report sparked by Rescue 116 helicopter crash finds 'confusion' among search and rescue agencies

The final report into Search and Rescue Aviation Operations in Ireland has found confusion among the different agencies involved.

Twelve recommendations have been put forward in the review which was sparked by the fatal Rescue 116 helicopter crash off the Mayo coast last year.

This independent report was commissioned by the Department of Transport following the crash that claimed the lives of Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormbsy and Ciaran Smith.

However, the review did not examine the circumstances of the crash itself and the authors warned that there is no intention to establish any causal link between their findings and the accident.

The report found "confusion" and "potential conflicts of interest" between the different agencies involved in the management of air-based search and rescue in Ireland.

They found "several sources of confusion and potential conflicts of interest" amongst the agencies and warned that this has resulted in a "lack of a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities" in the oversight of rescue operations.

One of the key recommendations is to review Search and Rescue oversight and procedures as arrangements can be a mix of maritime and aviation depending on the circumstances.

Recommendations include clearly assigning the Irish Aviation Authority with responsibility for civil aviation search and rescue missions.

Continuous improvement of safety management and engagement with the EU to standardize search and rescue operations are also recommended.

The Transport Minister Shane Ross has called for the speedy implementation of the report.

He said: “I fully accept the findings and recommendations of this comprehensive review of search and rescue aviation oversight by a team of international experts, which I appointed at end of May.

"I have instructed that all necessary steps be taken without delay to ensure speedy implementation of all of the recommendations.

"We now have an opportunity in Ireland - and a blueprint – to make meaningful improvement to our current oversight structures and in doing so set a benchmark for other jurisdictions.”


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