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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 14 October, 2019
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Over 100 boats to search for missing Rescue 116 crew

It’s thought that local knowledge of tides and currents will be crucial in the search effort.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

OVER 100 BOATS are expected off the northwest coast this morning as the search for the two missing members of the Rescue 116 crew continues.

The boats will come from all over the area, with search and rescue units from member clubs of the Irish Underwater Council (IUC) joining RNLI and Coast Guard crews.

The IUC will bring 14 teams from around the country along with 18 Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) and over 70 members who are all fully trained in search and recovery operations.

The RNLI lifeboats from Ballyglass, Achill, Sligo, Bundoran and Arranmore, along with Killybegs and Killala Coast Guard, will be on scene for the day and will keep in communication with all vessels.

The Coast Guard is requesting all vessels in the north Mayo-south Donegal area keep a look-out for any debris in the course of their routine activities and to report any findings to the Malin Head Coast Guard Coordination Centre.

It’s thought that local knowledge of tides and currents will be crucial in the search effort.

The Naval Service ship LÉ Ciara will also be on scene ready to assist where required.

Rescue 116 crashed three weeks ago while preparing to refuel at Blacksod, County Mayo.

The wreckage of the helicopter was recovered on Sunday, but there was no sign of missing crew members Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered at sea soon after the helicopter went down, but died later in hospital. The body of pilot Captain Mark Duffy was found in the wreckage of the helicopter last week.

Investigators have been working on the theory that part of the tail section of the aircraft struck rocks close to Blackrock lighthouse before crashing into the sea.

RNLI Lifesaving Manager Gareth Morrison said:

“With everyone involved in the search staying vigilant and safe and following the directions from the on scene coordinators we will cover a huge area safely. We also ask that people continue to keep a lookout for any debris and report findings to the Coast Guard.

“Our thoughts remain with the families and colleagues of the crew of Rescue 116.”

Read: Major search operation to begin Saturday for missing Rescue 116 crew

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