HERCULEAN EFFORT The Ballyglass Lifeboat changing crew at Blacksod Pier to continue the search for Coast Guard Helicopter R116. Pic: Keith Heneghan
Black box signal detected close to Blackrock lighthouse
A SIGNAL from the black-box recorder of Coast Guard Helicopter R116 has been detected close to Blackrock Lighthouse off the Mayo coast.
The signal was identified at approximately 4.30pm this afternoon (Wednesday) in 40 metres of water, around 60 metres from Blackrock lighthouse. The detection of the black-box signal has been described as a very important step in the effort to recover the three missing R116 crew members.
Investigators are now establishing the exact position of the signal and hope to be in a position to dive to that location by this evening and retrive the black box.
The black-box recorder contains the cockpit voice recorder, which records all communications internally in the aircraft as well as all radio communications, could prove vital in determining the cause of the accident.
Earlier this morning, research vessel RV Celtic Voyager joined the search for the missing crew members. It is using specialist multibeam sonar equipment to scan the seabed.
They are concentrating its efforts around Blackrock Lighthouse, located approximately 12km from the Blacksod Coast and the last known location of R116. Large debris believed to be from the helicopter was located on the sea floor by the Celtic Voyager, and debris was also discovered on Blackrock itself.
Earlier this afternoon, a spokesperson for the Irish Coast Guard told The Mayo News that the Celtic Voyager was doing good work, and it is hoped that Garda and Navy divers will be able to take part in exploratory dives around the lighthouse location for the first time before nightfall.