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Body of Captain Mark Duffy recovered from Irish Coast Guard helicopter crash site off Mayo coast

Divers have recovered the body of Captain Mark Duffy, one of the Irish Coast Guard crew who died when their helicopter crashed off the Co Mayo coast.

The remains were discovered on Friday in the cockpit of Rescue 116 off Blackrock island, about 13km (eight miles) off the coast.

The wreck lies 40m down with divers needing swells below 3m for a safe recovery operation.

The body of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, a 45-year-old mother-of-one, was the first one of the four crew to have been recovered from the ocean.

The other crew members were Captain Mark Duffy, Winchman Ciaran Smith and Winch Operator Paul Ormsby.

Navy divers freed the body of a crewman from the cockpit of the wreckage on Sunday, authorities leading the recovery operation confirmed.

The black box, which holds the flight data and voice records, was taken from the wreckage on Friday and flown to Farnborough in England.

Some water is believed to have seeped into the unit and Ireland's Air Accident Investigations Unit (AAIU) hopes the specialist facilities in the UK will allow the unit to be dried and the data downloaded.

An Garda Síochána have confirmed that the body recovered from the wreckage of Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 is...

Posted by Irish Coast Guard on Sunday, March 26, 2017
 

Investigators believe the tail of Rescue 116 hit rocks on the western end of the island as it returned from supporting a rescue mission to refuel at Blacksod.

There was no indication of any danger moments before the Sikorsky S92 vanished, with the crew's final transmission: "Shortly landing at Blacksod."

Captain Duffy's body was brought to the pier in Blacksod by Naval Service officers, including Lieutenant Commander Darragh Kirwan and Lieutenant Dan Humphries, officer in charge of the Naval Service dive section.

Lt Cmdr Kirwan said: "It's not lost on us that the families are all here as well.

"At the end of the day it is about the families.

"It would be on our minds, first of all for the divers to be successful this morning and to bring back the body of one of the crew members and obviously to give some respect and dignity on the journey back in and to be able to effectively offer ceremony to the recovery of that body when we brought it back ashore."

The coffin, draped in the Irish Tricolour, was driven off the pier with a lone piper leading the cortege.

Behind the hearse scores of Irish Coast Guard staff and others involved in the search and recovery over the last 12 days formed a guard of honour and escorted the remains out of the village.

A few miles away in the village of Aghleam scores of local parents and children gathered at the roadside to pay their respects.

The search continues for the bodies of the two remaining crew.

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