Belfast Telegraph

Black box found in search for answers over crashed helicopter, but crew still missing

By Ed Carty

Divers have recovered the black box flight recorder from an Irish Coast Guard helicopter that crashed into the Atlantic more than a week ago.

Authorities said the bodies of three missing crew members had not been found with the wreckage east of Blackrock island, 13km off the coast of Co Mayo.

The Sikorsky S-92 is believed to have hit the island before crashing into the sea in the early hours of March 14.

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

The others, Captain Mark Duffy, Winchman Ciaran Smith and Winch Operator Paul Ormsby, remain missing.

The black box recorder was taken from the seabed at 4.30pm yesterday.

Jurgen Whyte, chief inspector with Ireland's Air Accident Investigation Unit, said the device appeared to be in good condition.

"It was always a priority to recover the three crew members, however, there are protocols within our work - where we see a recorder, we are obliged to take the recorder," he added.

"The concern was that if we did not take it at the time, we would not get it. Now our focus is to continue with the operation to seek and recover the three remaining crew members."

Mr Whyte also confirmed there was no external damage to the flight recorder.

Superintendent Tony Healy added that there was nothing to confirm that the bodies of the missing crew were with the wreckage.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph