Two families still waiting - Helicopter tragedies

THERE was a chilling coincidence around yesterday’s funeral of Captain Mark Duffy, who died when the Coast Guard helicopter crashed off the coast of Mayo 18 days ago.

Just as Capt Duffy’s life and courage were celebrated at his funeral in Blackrock, Co Louth, the wreckage of the Twin Squirrel helicopter that had gone missing overnight while travelling from Milton Keynes to Dublin was found. That grim discovery was made in Snowdonia and police confirmed that the bodies of all five passengers had been found too. A search of the Irish Sea and Snowdonia for the privately-owned aircraft was launched on Wednesday afternoon after it disappeared from radar systems.

Captain Duffy was buried two weeks after his colleague Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, who also gave her life in the Mayo tragedy, was buried. Capt Duffy’s uncle Fr Stephen Duffy was the main celebrant. He captured the sense of loss felt across the country when he said that “this is more than a family tragedy; it is a community catastrophe.”

There can never be a league table of tragedy or pain but yesterday’s two events inevitably pointed to another one that remains a terribly challenging, painful situation.

The bodies of Capt Duffy’s and Capt Fitzpatrick’s crewmates, winchman Ciarán Smith and winch operator Paul Ormsby have yet to be recovered. Hopefully that will change soon so their families might have the peace they deserve.

More on this topic

Minister: Lessons must be learned from search and rescue deaths as new oversight plan is publishedMinister: Lessons must be learned from search and rescue deaths as new oversight plan is published

Coast Guard crash report won't be ready for monthsCoast Guard crash report won't be ready for months

Coast Guard saves 400 lives in 2018Coast Guard saves 400 lives in 2018

Transport Minister pledges to implement recommendations in report into Caitríona Lucas deathTransport Minister pledges to implement recommendations in report into Caitríona Lucas death


Lifestyle

RJ Keighery's sale offers an across-the-board selection, says Des O'Sullivan.Waterford event to offer antique hunters plenty of variety

Dave Grohl’s journey from the heartbreak of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain’s suicide to the stadium rock sunny uplands frequented by Foo Fighters is proof even the most anguishing stories can have happy endings.Foo Fighters impress in RDS show as Grohl's agonising story gets happy ending

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.August 22, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

More From The Irish Examiner