The publication of the transcript of the final words exchanged between crew members on board Irish Coast Guard Rescue 116 helicopter before it crashed off Co Mayo last month has been strongly criticised by international organisations representing pilots.
The transcript was included in a preliminary report issued by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) last week - the last words recorded were from the co-pilot, who said “we’re gone”.
The transcript was carried in a number of newspapers and on websites, but in a statement issued last night, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations said they strongly condemned the publication of the Cockpit Voice Recorder transcript as unwarranted, unacceptable and counterproductive to flight safety.
The Rescue 116 helicopter crashed into Blackrock island, off the north Mayo coast, just over a month ago.
All four crew members died, and the bodies of winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smyth have not yet been recovered, despite intensive searches.
The crash also claimed the lives of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick and co-pilot Capt Mark Duffy who have both been laid to rest.
Capt Evan Cullen, president of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association, said there was no justification for publishing he last two minutes of the flight, other than feeding a thirst for sensationalism, and said it unnecessarily adds to the burden for the victims families.
Captain Cullen says it was unacceptable and contrary to EU regulations.
However the Air Accident Investigation Unit has defended its decision to publish the final words of the crew of Rescue 116.
In a statement, the Air Accident Investigation Unit said it was satisfied that best international practice was followed and that the release of that section of the transcript was deemed relevant in giving the families and the aviation community a better understanding of the sequence of events.
The AAIU says it will continue in its work to bring this particular investigation to its final conclusion.