Bags used to lift crashed coastguard helicopter R116

Blackrock island Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption The helicopter crashed near Blackrock island two weeks ago, after assisting in the rescue of a fisherman

Divers searching for the bodies of two crewmen who died in an Irish Coast Guard helicopter crash two weeks ago have attached lifting bags to the wreckage.

The specially designed bags will be inflated to raise the wreckage from the seabed and allow search teams to check underneath the aircraft for bodies.

Four people were on board helicopter R116 when it crashed off the County Mayo coast on 14 March.

Winch operator Paul Ormsby and winch man Ciaran Smith are still missing.

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 recovered from the cockpit at the weekend.

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

At the time of the crash, the R116 crew were providing communications support to another Irish Coast Guard helicopter, which had been deployed to airlift an injured fisherman to hospital.

The main part of the wreckage was located almost a week ago about 60m west of Blackrock island, but difficult weather conditions have hampered the recovery operation.

The aircraft is lying on the seabed at a depth of about 40m and Irish Naval Service divers have been sent down to the wreck in pairs to attach the lifting bags.

The divers are among about 80 members of the Irish Defence Forces, including air corps and army personnel, deployed to assist the multi-agency operation in Blacksod Bay.

A planned attempt to left the wreckage was postponed on Monday due to deteriorating sea conditions.

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