Midwest Radio

RTE Report, claims Blackrock Island Was Not Included on On Board Warning System of Tragic Rescue 116 Helicopter

Four months after Rescue 116 crashed into Blackrock island off  the coast of Co Mayo, questions have been raised over when it was known that the island was not included on the onboard warning system

RTÉ's Prime Time reported last night that a pilot had flagged the absence of Blackrock Island from the system four years ago - but the error was not corrected.

All four crew members of R116 - Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith - died in the crash.

The Coast Guard's Search and Rescue service is run by a private operator, CHC Ireland, which is a subsidiary of global helicopter services provider based in Canada.

It won a ten year €500 million contract to provide the service in 2012.

All of the Coast Guard's Search and Rescue helicopters have been equipped with an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System since 2013.

The EGPWS is designed to warn pilots to take corrective action to avoid a collision if they get too close to terrain or a known obstacle. But the system can only work if its database has a complete picture of the terrain and obstacles on a flight path.

Blackrock Island was not in the system. The pilots flying Rescue 116 did not receive a warning and so are unlikely to have seen the island until it was too late.


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