Local man amongst those feared missing as Irish Coast Guard helicopter disappears off Mayo coast
A local man is amongst those believed to be missing after an Irish Coast Guard helicopter disappeared off the coast of Mayo this morning.
A crew of four were on board the rescue chopper when it lost contact with the base around 1am. Amongst them was a father of two from this area.
The crew were involved in the rescue of a father and son after a helicopter crashed in a garden in the foothills of the Cooley mountains in Carlingford on Sunday.
The Dublin-based crew had been providing top cover for another Coast Guard helicopter that was performing a medical evacuation off the coast of Mayo.
Rescue 116 was returning to base when it fell out of contact, six miles west of Blacksod.
A large amount of debris was found this morning with one crew member recovered in a critical condition.
Search and rescue helicopters from Shannon and Sligo are currently searching for the missing craft.
Support is being provided by the Irish Air Corp Casa aeroplane, all-weather lifeboats from Ballyglass and Achill and five local fishing vessels.
The LE Roisín arrived at the scene shortly after 9am and naval divers are also on standby.
In a statement a spokesman for the Coast Guard said: “The Sligo based Coast Guard helicopter R118 completed an early morning medical evacuation (medevac) of a crewman requiring urgent medical attention from a UK registered fishing vessel approximately 150 miles west of Eagle Island in County Mayo.
“Owing to the distance involved safety and communication support, known as Top Cover, was provided by the second Coast Guard helicopter, the Dublin based R116.”
The statement read: “At approximately 1am contact was lost with one of our SAR Helicopters. A major sea search is ongoing off the county Mayo coast approximately six miles west of Blacksod.
“The search operation is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre in Malin Head. Both helicopters refuelled at Blacksod prior to transiting to the scene.”
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Eugene Clonan described today as a “dark day for emergency services”.
He said that hopes are fading for the three missing crew: “At this particular point in time, our hopes are fading of finding the remainder of the crew.”