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Rescue 116 helicopter wreckage lifted from sea off Irish coast

Blackrock island Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption The helicopter crashed near Blackrock island last month, after assisting in the rescue of a fisherman

The wreckage of an Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter that crashed in March has been lifted from the sea off the coast of County Mayo.

However, two missing crew members, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winch man Ciaran Smith, have not yet been found.

Naval Service dive teams attached lifting equipment to the wreckage of Rescue 116 on Sunday.

Four people were on board the helicopter when it crashed on 14 March.

The most senior pilot on board the aircraft, Cpt Dara Fitzpatrick, died after she was rescued from the sea hours after the crash.

The body of her co-pilot, Capt Mark Duffy, was later recovered from the wreckage.

Heavy swells and currents prevented dives to the aircraft on Saturday.

Divers were able to reach the aircraft, which is 40 metres below sea level, after sea conditions eased on Sunday.

They attached a bridle to the helicopter, which was used to harness the wreckage and bring it to the surface.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Four crew were on board helicopter R116 when it crashed

The Air Accident Investigation Unit has said there was no indication of any mechanical problems in the seconds before the impact.

It is thought the inquiry into the cause of the crash on 14 March is now likely to focus on operational issues.

This will take in a number of separate headings, as investigators analyse the flight recorder for any indications of what went wrong.

Investigators are likely to look at things like human behaviour, navigational equipment and procedural issues, in an effort to identify the exact reasons why Rescue 116 crashed.

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