Wife of Rescue 116 pilot Mark Duffy issues public thank you for help

The wife of one of the pilots killed in the Rescue 116 helicopter crash off the coast of Co Mayo last March has issued an open letter thanking the public for their support.

Dundalk native Captain Mark Duffy was one of the four crew members who died when the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 crashed into Blackrock Island, off the Mayo coast.

Captain Duffy’s remains were recovered from the sea, as was the body of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, while the bodies of crewmen Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith have yet to be found.

In an open letter to the public, Captain Duffy’s wife, Hermione Duffy, expressed gratitude on behalf of herself and her two children Esmé and Fionn for the assistance and goodwill shown by the public since the crash.

“I would like to thank the people and communities of Blackrock, Dundalk, Cooley, Louth, Newry and Warrenpoint, south Armagh and Down, nationally especially Mayo and beyond, sincerely, for your kind, generous and compassionate actions since Mark’s tragic loss with the crew of Rescue 116,” Ms Duffy wrote.

“To the families of Esmé and Fionn’s many friends thank you for helping your children be their friends during this time. Thank you especially to the vice-principal and staff of St Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk and the teaching staff of St Francis National School, Blackrock; the gardaí of Blackrock and Dundalk. The Clogherhead Coastguard unit who kept watch over us while the search to bring Mark home continued.

“Blackrock Tidy Towns and all the business owners in the village and Dundalk, thank you. From the vigil in those first days to closing your shops during Mark’s funeral.

“Thank you to the local businesses who supplied food to us and the Irish Coastguard crew daily.

“On behalf of Mark’s mother Sheila, and brothers Gavan and Donard, along with Mark’s uncle Fr Stephen Duffy they extend their gratitude to you all.

“We are grateful for the kindness, gentleness and compassion shown to us by Fr Padraig Keenan, PP, and Father Brian White, CC, Blackrock. We chose to live in Blackrock to be beside the sea, close to Mark’s work, near great schools and we live in this community which has given us immeasurable support and kindness which is greatly helping us in adjusting to our life now without Mark.

“The respect we have been shown gives us great pride to know the esteem Mark was held in by you all. To everyone, friends and others who offered their sympathies, personally and with cards, thank you for your support, gifts, flowers and help.

“To all the emergency services staff of the Irish Coastguard and the volunteers of the RNLI, your unique selflessness has been high-lighted nationally by this tragedy may you always be acknowledged for your wonderful work.

“To the co-ordinators, crews and divers of the search and the volunteers who supported them in Blacksod, Belmullet and beyond, who still search for Ciaran and Paul, thank you seems inadequate for all that you did and continue to do.

“Thank you.”

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