Rescue 116 searches resume off Mayo coast

A Donegal fishing trawler has been fitted with special nets and sonar equipment for the search

Rescue 116 searches resume off Mayo coast

File Photo, the original search operation off Blackrock Island. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Searches are underway off the Mayo coast once again today for the missing crew-members of Rescue Helicopter 116.

Garda dive teams are joining the Donegal based fishing trawler 'MSV Westbound' which has been fitted with specially designed nets to trawl the sea-floor near Blackrock Island where the helicopter went down.

The trawler has also been equipped with sonar and an underwater camera.

The bodies of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy were recovered following initial searches after the aircraft crashed in March.

However, no trace has been found of two remaining crew members - Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith.

Local photo journalist Fergus Sweeney said search teams are picking up where they stopped off yesterday evening.

He said the trawler is backed up the garda sub-aqua unit, gardaí from Belmullet Garda Station and the local coast guard – who are providing shore search teams throughout the day:

“Once these shore units wrap up for the evening then we would expect that the Irish Coast Guard will send in one of their S92 helicopters to do an aerial search,” he said.

“It is the same pattern day-by-day for this search they plan on doing.

“[They are] reviewing what they trawl from the bottom; hoping that they would find something in one of those trawls that would lead them then to do further exploration on that site and hopefully find some remains or pieces again of Rescue 116.”

The helicopter originally crashed on March 14th – after information systems onboard the aircraft reportedly failed to pick-up the Blackrock lighthouse.

This latest search effort was planned following the scaling back of searches in April.