Pilot groups condemn publication of Rescue 116 transcript

Irish Air Line Pilots' Association says the publication "unnecessarily adds to the burden of the victims' families"

Pilot groups condemn publication of Rescue 116 transcript

Picture by: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/PA Images

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) says it is satisfied that best practice was followed in the publication of the transcripts of the cockpit voice recordings from Rescue Helicopter 116.

The transcripts of the flight's final minutes were published as part of the AAIU's preliminary report into last month's crash.

The publication, however, has drawn strong condemnation from the Irish Air Line Pilots' Association (IALPA).

According to the association, the decision was 'unnecessary and harmful'.

Evan Cullen, president of the IALPA, said was no justification for the move "other than feeding a thirst for sensationalism".

In a statement, the pilots group said: "The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and the European Cockpit Association (ECA) strongly condemn this publication as unwarranted, unacceptable [and] counterproductive to flight safety."

The group suggests the publication also breaches EU accident investigation regulations.

The statement adds: "Not only does the publication contravene the internationally agreed principles of accident investigation confidentiality [...] but it unnecessarily adds to the burden of the victims' families, and is also a breach of trust to all those involved in commercial aviation."

However the AAIU said the move was deemed relevant in giving the families and the aviation community a better understanding of the sequence of events in the early hours of March 14th.

Four crew members were on board Rescue 116 when it crashed at Blackrock Island, off the coast of Co Mayo.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and Captain Mark Duffy have been laid to rest but the two others - winch operator Paul Ormsby and winch man Ciarán Duffy - remain lost at sea.

The initial report into the crash found that the warning system on the Coast Guard helicopter did not have data related to the island.

There was no mechanical failure in the aircraft before the crash, the report indicated.