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Divers join search for bodies after Coast Guard helicopter crash

Scores of divers have been taking part in renewed efforts to find the bodies of two winchmen from an Irish Co ast Guard helicopter which crashed in the Atlantic last month.

Rescue 116 went down off Co Mayo at 12.46am on March 14 with four crew on board after it struck Blackrock island 12 miles offshore.

Air accident investigators have established that one of the Sikorksy S-92's internal warning systems did not include the terrain of the rocky outcrop and its working lighthouse in its database.

The wreck was found on the seabed just off the island.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, commander of the flight, was pulled from the sea in the hours after the crash while the body of Captain Mark Duffy, co-pilot on the flight, was taken from the cockpit 12 days later by Navy divers working at depths of 40 metres.

The bodies of winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith have not been found despite weeks of intensive seabed, surface and shore searches.

Divers from clubs affiliated to the Irish Underwater Council joined the Garda sub-aqua unit and local fishing boats for focused inspection of the seabed around Blackrock.

A wreath-laying ceremony also took place on the pier next to the lighthouse in Blacksod where Rescue 116 had been due to refuel before tragedy struck.

The renewed seabed searches took place after Blackrock island was scaled by mountaineers from the Irish Army and Garda crime scene examiners last week and dozens of boats took part in a huge sea search over an area from the Mayo coast up to south Donegal a fortnight ago.

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