Irish Coast Guard S-92 helicopter crashes with four on board

An Irish Coast Guard search-and-rescue (SAR) Sikorsky S-92, operated by CHC Ireland, has crashed off the west coast of Ireland.

Rescue 116, an Irish Coast Guard Sikorsky S-92, was lost during a SAR operation off the coast of Ireland on March 14. Irish Coast Guard Photo

Contact was lost with Dublin-based Rescue 116 at approximately 1 a.m. on March 14. The aircraft, with four crewmembers on board, was providing top cover for another Irish Coast Guard S-92, Rescue 118, as it conducted a medical evacuation from a U.K.-registered fishing vessel approximately 150 miles west of Eagle Island in county Mayo.

The Coast Guard has launched a major sea search operation off the county Mayo coast approximately six miles west of Blacksod. Two SAR helicopters as well as a number of vessels have been searching for the missing crewmembers.

The first crewmember to be recovered from the sea, senior pilot Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, was pronounced dead in the hospital, according to news reports. Other crewmembers were identified as  chief pilot Mark Duffy and winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith.

Capt. Dara Fitzpatrick, left, was the first victim of the Irish Coast Guard S-92 crash to be identified. She is shown here with Capt. Carmel Kirby in 2013 when they flew as the Coast Guard’s first all-female SAR flight crew. Irish Coast Guard Photo

In a statement, Sikorsky said it was working with its customer, CHC, to obtain more information about the crash. “Safety is our top priority; as information becomes available and verified, we will communicate with our customers as appropriate,” the company said.

Another CHC-operated S-92 was involved in an incident on Dec. 28, 2016, when it lost tail rotor control while landing on an offshore helideck in the North Sea. That incident, which was blamed on a failed bearing, prompted immediate inspections of the global S-92 fleet and led to the issuance of an emergency airworthiness directive.

No information regarding a possible cause for the Irish Coast Guard crash was immediately available. Ireland’s Air Accident Investigation Unit reported that it has sent a “go-team” to the accident site as search operations continue.

Elan Head:

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  • My deepest condolences to the families and friends of the missing search and rescue helicopter crew, I hope they are found alive, or just to recover their bodies so the families can have some closure,on this very distressing day.

  • God bless you all from one who worked with you in the past,in the ARCC at RAF Kinloss my thoughts are with you all. The SAR World moans with you .

    David Whalley MBE .

  • God bless the families and friends of those lost and yet to be found. My deepest and sincerest condolences go out to all involved in this tragedy.

  • So Very Sad, sending My condolences to the families and friends, of the Crew and Co-workers. May you get the support you will need in this tragic times.