One crew member of an Irish Coast Guard helicopter that went missing with four crew on board off the west coast has been located. Her condition has been described as critical. Debris has been found at the last known location of the helicopter. The LÉ Roisin has now joined the search for the crew.
Contact was lost contact with the Dublin-based Rescue 116 SAR helicopter rescue chopper at approximately 1am during a mission where they had been providing cover for another Irish Coast Guard helicopter performing a medical evacuation off the coast of Mayo.
The helicopter was returning to base when it fell out of contact six miles west of Blacksod.
Search and rescue helicopters from Shannon and Sligo are currently searching for the missing craft.
Support is being provided by the Irish Air Corp Casa aeroplane, all-weather lifeboats from Ballyglass and Achill and five local fishing vessels.
— Jim Daly (@psneeze) March 14, 2017
In a statement a spokesman for the Coast Guard said: “The Sligo based Coast Guard helicopter R118 completed an early morning medical evacuation (medevac) of a crewman requiring urgent medical attention from a UK registered fishing vessel approximately 150 miles west of Eagle Island in County Mayo.
“Russian fishing vessel some 180 miles North West of Erris Head Co. Mayo. Owing to the distance involved safety and communication support, known as Top Cover, was provided by the second Coast Guard helicopter, the Dublin based R116.”
The statement read: “At approximately 1am contact was lost with one of our SAR Helicopters. A major sea search is ongoing off the county Mayo coast approximately six miles west of Blacksod.
“The search operation is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre in Malin Head. Both helicopters refuelled at Blacksod prior to transiting to the scene.”
— Trish (@a_pisces_fish) March 14, 2017