Mayo helicopter crash: Underwater vehicle to be used in search operation

The helicopter's black box was located close to Blackrock Lighthouse Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption The helicopter's black box was located close to Blackrock Lighthouse

A remotely operated vehicle will be deployed into waters off Blackrock Island in County Mayo as efforts continue to locate three missing Irish coastguard crew members.

Four crew members were onboard Rescue 116 when it crashed off the coast of Mayo over a week ago.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered from the sea, hours after the crash.

A signal from the helicopter's black box was picked up close to Blackrock Island days later.

The remotely operated vehicle has a range of cameras, sensors and grabbers that can be used at depths of up to 3km.

It will be sent into the main search area, 60 metres from Blackrock, to collect data to ensure that dive teams have as much information as possible before they attempt to reach the recorder.

Heavy sea swells and bad weather conditions have delayed efforts in recent days but those overseeing the operation are hopeful that there may be a window to advance the search on Wednesday.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Three of the four crew members are still missing

The main aim of those involved in the search is to locate chief pilot Mark Duffy and winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.

The funeral for Captain Fitzpatrick was held on Saturday in Dublin.

'Rocky surfaces'

She was mother of a young son and the most senior pilot with CHC which runs the contract to provide search and rescue services in the Republic of Ireland.

On Monday, air accident investigators said the helicopter had come "into contact with rocky surfaces".

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) said recovered wreckage was primarily from the tail area of the helicopter.

The Irish coastguard Helicopter Rescue 116 crashed off the coast of Mayo last Tuesday.

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