Rescue 116 families deliver heartfelt seasonal messages

Two families who lost loved ones on board ill-fated Rescue 116 helicopter, which crashed off the Mayo coast, said they remain broken-hearted and urged people to remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Rescue 116 families deliver heartfelt seasonal messages

Four people were on board the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter when it came down off the Co Mayo coast on March 14 close to Black Rock Island.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick died after she was rescued from the sea hours after the crash. The body of her co-pilot, Capt Mark Duffy, was later recovered from the wreckage.

Winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith remain lost at sea. Their devastated families are spending their first Christmas without them.

The sister of the late Captain Fitzpatrick, Niamh, a renowned psychologist, took to Twitter to pay a “personal heartfelt thanks (for) every text, email, card or hug in this most horrific of years. I will never forget that.”

She asked people to stop and ponder about loved ones. “It costs nothing. Needs no shiny wrapping paper. But this would be the single best gift to give anyone you love this Christmas.

“Weird thing to do but I’d encourage everyone to take a moment to imagine losing the person you love most in the world.

“Imagine what you would wish you had said to them. Then take a moment to say it.”

Hermoine, Capt Duffy’s wife, took to Facebook to admit that, “the heartache that fills this world happens every day. My loss is enormous for me yet so many suffer the same.

“For 26 years it’s been Hermione & Mark we even have a retail chain named after us, @H&M ! A broken heart .... Mark liked (singer) Fergal Sharky the Undertones and his song ‘a good heart is hard to find, true love, the lasting kind, so please be gentle with this heart of mine’ echoes today.

“I found my good heart, he’s flying around me. Thank you for your kind wishes and may it a peaceful loving holiday for all. Xx”.

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