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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 18 March, 2019
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Wreckage of Coast Guard helicopter located off Mayo coast

A statement has been issued by investigators this afternoon.

Image: Peter Byrne

Updated at 1.10pm 

THE WRECKAGE OF the Rescue 116 helicopter has been found off the coast of Co Mayo, investigators have confirmed.

According to a statement from the Air Accident Investigation Unit, the discovery was made by teams working near Black Rock island earlier today.

Here is the statement:

The AAIU in consultation with An Garda Síochána, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the GSI and the Marine Institute wish to advise that following initial Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations the wreckage of R116 has been positively located on the sea bed on the Eastern side of Black Rock, at a depth of approx. 40m.
Operations are continuing but are weather dependent.

No bodies have been recovered.

The remotely operated vehicle being used to search the waters off Black Rock has cameras, sensors and grabbers that can be used at depths of up to 3 kilometres. It was briefly deployed yesterday, before being put into use again today.

It was sent to the area where signals from the black box recorder were found last week.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was found in the initial search and rescue operation after contact was lost with the helicopter on Tuesday last. She later died in hospital.

Her crewmates Captain Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith remain missing.

Investigators said on Monday night that the helicopter may have hit rocks at Black Rock lighthouse.

Poor weather conditions have hampered the search over the past few days. It’s hoped conditions will improve by the end of the week.

Read: Underwater device with cameras and grabbers used in search for Rescue 116 >

Read: Snow and ice grip the country as weather warning in place on frosty morning >

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