A Irish Coast Guard helicopter is reported to have crashed into the sea off County Mayo in Ireland. Search operations are being conducted. The Coast Guard has confirmed at the end of the day the death of the pilot Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, recovered 6 hours after the crash.
Three others are still missing.
A Coast Guard spokesman said the missing helicopter had been providing cover in the evacuation of a crewman who needed urgent medical attention, from a UK-registered fishing vessel approximately 150 miles west of Eagle Island in Co Mayo.
Capt Fitzpatrick was transferred to Mayo University Hospital after being recovered from the water in a critical condition by an RNLI lifeboat crew, but was later pronounced dead.
The three other crew on board have been named as Chief Pilot Mark Duffy and winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.
Search and Rescue operations manager with the Irish Coast Guard Gerard O’Flynn said the surface search is likely to continue overnight, but the air search will be scaled down until first light tomorrow.
The Marine Institute’s research vessel, RV Celtic Voyager, has joined the search operation. It is equipped with multi-beam radar, normally used for mapping the seabed.
Rescue 116 was providing cover for another Coast Guard helicopter on a mission at the time of the crash.
Captain Fitzpatrick was a senior pilot with the Coast Guard and had over 20 years’ experience.