SEARCH CONTINUES Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo refuelling at Blacksod today, as it takes part in the search efforts. Pic: Anton McNulty
The first fatality in the Coast Guard rescue helicopter crash off the Mayo coast has been named as Captain Dara Fitzpatrick.
Capt Fitzpatrick was taken from the water by the Achill lifeboat at approximately 7.30am and taken to Mayo University Hospital, where she died.
She was one of a crew of four who were on board Rescue 116 when it crashed into the Atlantic, approximately 8 miles off the Blacksod coast.
Capt Fitzpatrick’s death was officially announced to the media just after 2pm by Gerry O’Flynn, the Search and Rescue Operations Manager with the Irish Coast Guard at Blacksod Pier.
Expressing his sympathies to her family, Mr O’Flynn said Capt Fitzpatrick was the most senior pilot with CHC, the company who operates the Coast Guard helicopters.
“It is with regret that we announce that one of the pilots was Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, and that Dara has been pronounced dead. Dara is the most senior pilot with CHC and was with the company for close to 20 years. For all of us in the coast guard it comes as a complete shock, and we want to extend our sincere sympathy to all her family and flying colleagues in CHC,” he said.
The search is ongoing for Capt Fitzpatrick’s remaining three colleagues, and Mr O’Flynn said the search will continue as a rescue mission.
He said the situation was extremely difficult for the Coast Guard, and the crew’s CHC colleagues who are involved in the search.
Mr O'Flynn thanked the Trojan work of all the rescue workers, and described the current weather conditions as reasonable.
He said he would not comment an how the accident may have occurred, as there was no information at the moment.