A key member of the team reviewing a report into the fatal R116 helicopter crash off the Mayo coast in 2017 has resigned due to a conflict of interest.
RTE reports that the resignation of Phillip Hanson, a senior manager at the UK Coastguard, and the technical expert on the two-man review team, is expected to significantly delay the review, which will ultimately delay the publication of the report into the causes of the accident which claimed the lives of all four crew members.
It's reported that Mr Hanson disclosed that he had a personal connection with a senior manager at the helicopter operator, CHC - who was due to give evidence on behalf of CHC to the review board.
The resignation is the latest factor to delay the publication of the report by the Department of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) into an accident that claimed the lives of pilot Dara Fitzpatrick, co-pilot Mark Duffy, and winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.
The search and rescue helicopter crashed into Blackrock Island off the coast of Co Mayo in the early hours of 14 March, 2017.
The bodies of Mr Ormsby and Mr Smith have not been recovered.
The inquest into the deaths of the crew cannot be finalised until the AAIU report is published.