"Hopes are fading" as search continues for crew of Dublin based Irish Coast Guard helicopter

The Head of Operations at the Irish Coast Guard, Eugene Clonan has said “it’s a dark day for the emergency services” as the search continues for three members of a Dublin based Irish Coast Guard helicopter that has gone missing off the coast of Mayo.

One member of the crew that were aboard the Rescue 116 Coast Guard Helicopter has already been pulled from the water and is said to be in a critical condition.

Irish coast guard missing 09032017

The crew were aiding in the evacuation of a crewman, who required urgent medical attention from a UK-registered fishing boat, with the Dublin based helicopter acting as cover for another helicopter.

Debris has been found in the area where the search is taking palce, which involves the Air Corps, the RNLI, lifeboats and local fishing boats.

Speaking on RTE Radio One this morning Eugene Clonan of the Irish Coast Guard said: “The intention was to stop to refuel but she never made it.

“It flew from Dublin and straight out to sea, and then flew back to Black Sod to refuel but didn’t make it to Black Sod.”

“At this particular point in time, our hopes are fading of finding the remainder of the crew."

In a statement from the Irish Coast Guard a spokesperson said: “At approximately 1am contact was lost with one of our SAR Helicopters.

“A major sea search is ongoing off the county Mayo coast approximately six miles west of Blacksod. SAR Helicopters from Sligo and Shannon are on scene along with the Air Corps Casa.

“Ballyglass and Achill all weather lifeboats (ALBs) are on scene along with five local fishing vessels.

“The Sligo based Coast Guard helicopter R118 completed an early morning medical evacuation (medevac) of a crewman requiring urgent medical attention from a UK registered fishing vessel approximately 150 miles west of Eagle Island in County Mayo.

“Owing to the distance involved safety and communication support, known as Top Cover, was provided by the second Coast Guard helicopter, the Dublin based R116.

“The search operation is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre in Malin Head.”

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has also expressed deep concern at the news, saying: "This is an extremely difficult time for all concerned.

“As we await further information I would like to appeal for space to be given to the relevant professionals involved in the search operation to complete their work.

"Once again, I send my utmost support to all those affected."

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