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Investigators have found additional wreckage of Rescue 116 in an area of interest

It’s now believed that the helicopter had no contact with any of the lighthouse or the building itself.
Mar 21st 2017, 11:05 AM 35,066 19

INVESTIGATORS HAVE FOUND more wreckage from Rescue 116 while abseiling down the side of the rock at the island some eight miles from Blacksod.

The investigators were searching for telltale signs about what happened to the Coast Guard helicopter that has been missing since last week.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered and died later in hospital but her crewmates Captain Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith remain missing.

Up until now the focus of the investigation has been on Black Rock lighthouse, a rocky island some eight miles from Blacksod. Now investigators believe the tail struck rocks on the western side of the island.

Chief inspector with the Air Accident Investigations Unit (AAIU) Jurgen Whyte said, “We can 100% confirm that there was no contact with any of the lighthouse or the building itself.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1, he said:

If the aircraft has glanced off the rock there may not necessarily be a significant mark but certainly we have picked up additional wreckage in an area of interest.

“We found a number of the items had scouring, which would indicate that the aircraft had some form of solid impact with a solid structure in the tail section of the aircraft itself.

To get definitive answers to this we again have to refer to the fact that we need to get the recorders, the black box and hopefully that will give us additional information about what was happening at the time.

Search vessels have detected a signal which is believed to be from the underwater locator beacon attached to the aircraft’s black box, but diving teams have been hampered by poor weather.

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Whyte said, “The priority is towards the recovery of the three missing crewmen and then from that we would focus on seeking to recover the recorder and any wreckage we feel should be recovered.”

He added that the search is “very much weather dependent as regards the maritime investigations”.

Read: Investigators say Rescue 116 could have hit rocks at lighthouse>

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Cliodhna Russell


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