Midwest Radio

Taoiseach has arrived at the search site in Blacksod

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due on board the LE Eithne off the Mayo coastline this lunchtime to meet with the naval and Garda officers on board the vessel taking part in the ongoing search underway for three missing crewmen.


The R116 Coastguard helicopter came down close to Blackrock Island, about 12 km of the coast at Blacksod, in the early hours of Tuesday morning last.


The pilot Daire Fitzgerald was taken from the water and later died. She was laid to rest at the weekend.


But today is Day seven of the massive air, sea, and land search involving a multi-agency effort to locate the missing crew men - Captain Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith and the helicopter’s black box recorder.


The cause of the tragedy is not yet established.


An area of ocean floor around the suspected crash site at Blackrock Island was successfully mapped yesterday, thanks to a lull in the high ocean swell.


That data will inform the next phase of the operation, with the Commissioners of Irish Lights' ship Granuaile to be used as a platform for dives by the Naval service.


Declan Geoghan of the Coastguard told Midwest News today that while the weather looks set to impede progress today, search co-coordinators are hopeful they will be in a position to seize any opportunity to dive in the coming days, as a result of the new information they have from the scene. 


Subject to conditions, the Grainuaile will dock off Blackrock island later today and will be used as a platform for dives by Naval service personnel and Garda divers. 

The vessel is also carrying the Marine Institute's Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), which can be deployed to access difficult to reach areas. It can operate at depths of up to 3km and features a suite of cameras and grabbers, which will be operated from the deck of the Granuaile.


The Taoiseach was in Blacksod this morning where he met with family members of the missing crew, local people assisting the multi-agencies directly involved in the search, he also met members of the coastguard, the gardai and Head of the Air Accident Investigation Unit.


Local councillor Gerry Coyle accompanied the Taoiseach on land and told Midwest News that once again the great community effort being displayed is humbling to see.


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