Flotilla for helicopter crash dead

Boats take part in a flotilla on Carlingford Lough in memory of the crew of a rescue helicopter, which crashed off the County Mayo coast. 
PPicture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Boats take part in a flotilla on Carlingford Lough in memory of the crew of a rescue helicopter, which crashed off the County Mayo coast. PPicture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Nearly 100 boats have taken part in a cross-border flotilla on Carlingford Lough in memory of the crew of a rescue helicopter which crashed off the Co Mayo coast.

Four wreaths were laid by representatives of those killed and red and white roses were also placed in the water. The vessels were played into Carlingford marina by a piper.

Four people died after the Irish Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 116 crashed into the sea in March.

Four people died after the Irish Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 116 crashed into the sea in March.

A flypast by another Coastguard helicopter marked poignant scenes amid the heavy downpours.

Rescue 116 crashed off Co Mayo at 12.46am on March 14 with four crew on board after it struck Blackrock Island 12 miles off the coast.

The bodies of winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith were never recovered despite weeks of intensive seabed, surface and shore searches.

Also on board were Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, the commander of the flight who was pulled from the sea in the hours after the crash, and Captain Mark Duffy, the co-pilot whose body was taken from the cockpit 12 days later by Navy divers.

All marine vessels on Carlingford Lough were invited to join the flotilla on Sunday, culminating in a ceremony and a flyby by a Irish Coastguard Helicopter at Rostrevor Bay in County Down.

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

All marine vessels on Carlingford Lough were invited to join the flotilla on Sunday, culminating in a ceremony and a flyby by a Irish Coastguard Helicopter at Rostrevor Bay in County Down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Mr Duffy’s uncle Terry Murray took part in the flotilla.

He said: “We are very impressed that so many people came out and offered their support. It is very heartening.”

He said the gesture during the flypast of the helicopter, its nose dipping, was very touching.

“It just brings home to you what these flight crews go through,” he said.

“It was great support and is much appreciated.”

The flotilla culminated in a ceremony at Rostrevor Bay in Co Down.

Organiser Sheila Fitzgerald, cousin of winch man Ciaran Smith, who died in the crash, said: “It’s such an important cross-border event and it’s important to remember, if you’re a mariner and you’re in trouble at sea, you don’t care who comes to rescue you.”

Four people died after the Irish Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 116 crashed into the sea in March.  Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Four people died after the Irish Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 116 crashed into the sea in March. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com