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In 'hostile conditions', searchers find section of Coast Guard helicopter on Black Rock

No impact marks of significance have been found on the island, the chief investigator said.
Mar 17th 2017, 8:13 AM 38,234 38

1 SHIP 758A2397_90505722 An Irish Navy Ship checking the seas around Blackrock.

A TEAM OF six investigators working to establish what caused the crash of the Rescue 116 helicopter off the coast of Mayo this week have discovered wreckage from the craft on an island some 10km from shore.

Speaking on last night’s Prime Time, Chief Inspector with the Air Accident Investigation Unit Jurgen Whyte confirmed wreckage had been found by the team, who had identified several areas of interest and searched Black Rock in “hostile conditions”.

They spent around 90 minutes searching, he said.

Asked whether the craft had crashed on the island or whether some part of the helicopter had struck either the land or the lighthouse located there, he said:

I can confirm that we have found no impact marks of significance on the island itself and there are no direct marks on the lighthouse itself.

He said he wouldn’t speculate on why the wreckage would have been found at the location, and repeated that a full investigation was continuing.

Investigators hope to return to the island in the coming days, depending on weather.

Search teams looking for the downed Irish Coast Guard helicopter detected a homing beacon from the aircraft’s black box flight recorder on Wednesday, one day after it was reported missing.

jurgen Jurgen White speaks to Prime Time.

Teams have been searching for three missing crewmen after the helicopter crashed off the Mayo coast early on Tuesday.

Four crew members were on board the helicopter. Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered from the sea on Tuesday, but passed away that afternoon.

Searches are now ongoing to locate Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.

The flight recorder’s beacon was detected in waters around 40 metres deep near Black Rock on Wednesday.

White said investigators would now focus on trying to recover the beacon. He said it was hoped the missing crewmen would be found in the same area.

Read: A weather warning’s been issued for the west of the country >

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