Republic of Ireland news

Mayo helicopter crash: Report finds lack of data on Blackrock Island

Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter 116 crashed off the coast of Co Mayo on March 14

A PRELIMINARY report into the fatal crash of coastguard rescue helicopter 116 has found an onboard warning system did not include data on Blackrock Island.

The helicopter crashed into the island off the coast of Co Mayo on March 14, with the loss of all four crew members on board.

The bodies of Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy have been recovered but two others, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Duffy, remain lost at sea.

In the report, the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) says an 'enhanced ground positioning warning system' did not have the lighthouse included in an obstacle database and that details of the island were not listed on a terrain database.

The report also contains data from the voice recorder from R116.

In the seconds before the crash, crew members are heard to discuss "an island directly in front of us" before advice to "come right" is issued.

Three seconds later, the last recorded communication took place.

The report recommends that CHC Ireland, which operates coastguard helicopters, should review all route guides on search-and-rescue aircraft to enhance the information provided on obstacles and terrain.

It also recommends that the effective operation of locator beacons on Mk44 life jackets should be reviewed.

The AAIU says the inquiry is ongoing and a final report will be published in due course.

Mechanical anomalies on the helicopter have already been ruled out as contributory factors, and the AAIU focus is now understood to be on operational aspects of the flight.

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