There has been an overwhelming reaction to a new documentary which aired on RTE television last night examining the community reaction in Erris to the Rescue 116 tragedy over five years ago.

Meitheal: The Story of a Search was produced by local filmmaker Fergus Sweeney whose family has a lifelong association with Blacksod Lighthouse.

Rescue 116 Irish Coastguard helicopter crashed into Blackrock Island off the Erris coast in March 2017.

The bodies of Captain Mark Duffy and Captain Dara Fitzpatrick were recovered in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, but the remains of their colleagues, Winchman Ciarán Smith and Winch Operator Paul Ormsby, were lost at sea.

The Erris community found itself at the heart of a search effort that lasted for more than 40 days and the warmth and generosity of the local people shone in the midst of such a devastating event.

Fergus spoke to many of those who aided in the search and rescue efforts, as well as members of the community who helped to provide food and support to the rescuers who flocked from all over the nation to lend a hand.

Fergus, who also works as a TV cameraman, was on the ground from “night one” of the harrowing incident. He saw how his local community sprang into action.

He has been speaking to Midwest News about the reaction he has received from the documentary.


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