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19 Aug 2022

Longford's part in Rescue 116 search

Longford Scuba Divers join the search for missing Rescue 116 crew

Longford's part in Rescue 116 search

A number of Longford Scuba Divers are standing by as the search for missing Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 crewmen, Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby continues this week.

The club, along with four other clubs that make up the Midlands Search and Recovery Unit, was asked to assist in the search along the coastline from the Aran Islands in Galway, Co Mayo and Co Donegal last weekend and is prepared to join the search again when called.

“The search is going to continue and we don’t know when we’ll be needed again, but we’re ready to help out as and when we’re required,” PRO for Co Longford Scuba Divers Rose Kane told the Longford Leader this week.

The Midlands Search and Recovery Unit is made up of five clubs - Longford Scuba Divers, Lough Ree, Roscommon, Mullingar and Athlone - each of which sent dedicated divers to help with the search.

The wreckage of Rescue 116 was recovered off the shore of Co Mayo at Blacksod on Sunday April 2 last, but search teams failed to locate the missing crew members.

The tragic accident, which took place almost one month ago, in the early hours of March 14, also claimed the lives of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and pilot Captain Mark Duffy.

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI, Irish Air Corps, Irish Naval Service and Civil Defence, search and recovery units from member clubs of the Irish Underwater Council (IUC) boats, aircrafts, land search and UAV teams were joined by more than 80 civilian vessels over the weekend in an effort to recover the missing crew.

“Each search and recovery team in the Midlands Search and Recovery Unit has a certain number of fully-qualified divers who are ready to help again when called,” said Miss Kane.

“But at the moment we don’t know about any future search plans.”

Earlier this week, Gerard O’Flynn from the Coast Guard thanked all the statutory and voluntary organisations for their unstinting support over the past four weeks, adding that the operation highlighted the value of inter-agency cooperation in meeting challenges of this type.

Owing to the members’ involvement in the search over the weekend, the Midlands Search and Recovery Unit’s training day was postponed to allow divers to join the search.

A new date for training will be advised by the club as soon as possible.

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