Rescue 116: Tributes paid to the tragic crew of the helicopter crash on the occasion of the fifth anniversary

The sister of Rescue 116 pilot Dara Fitzpatrick, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in 2017, remembered the captain on the fifth anniversary of his death.

iamh Fitzpatrick took to Twitter on Saturday morning to mark the anniversary of the last time she saw her sister alive.

The psychologist and author reminded her followers to keep their loved ones close as she paid tribute to Dara online.

She said: “Today is the anniversary of the last time I saw Dara alive, heard her voice, saw her smiling face. 32 hours later she was dead.

“This ordinary conversation between us, now an extraordinary moment in our lives together.

“Spend time with the ones you love. That’s all we really have.

Captain Fitzpatrick lost his life alongside fellow Irish Coast Guard crew Captain Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winch man Ciarán Smith when their helicopter crashed on Blackrock Island, off the north coast of Mayo in 2017.

They had assisted another Coastguard helicopter called in to evacuate a fisherman from a trawler.

While the bodies of Captain Fitzpatrick and Captain Duffy were recovered in the days following the tragedy, the bodies of their colleagues remain lost at sea.

The Achill Island Coastguard also paid tribute to their colleagues five years on from the tragedy with a social media post.

Speaking to Facebook, a spokesperson said: ‘Last night, five years ago, a ship some 141 nautical miles off our west coast called out for help.

“Two Irish Coastguard helicopters responded to this call. Rescue 118 from Sligo and Rescue 116 from Dublin.

“At 01:46 Rescue 116 crashed with the loss of all four crew.


Captain Dara Fitzpatrick (CHC/PA)

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick (CHC/PA)

“Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, Captain Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winch man Ciarán Smith were four of our best. We will always remember them. Go Mairidis Beo.

Limerick Fire and Fire shared their own message of remembrance online, writing: “Today we remember the crew of the Irish Coastguard helicopter, Rescue 116, who perished after crashing at Blackrock on this day in 2017.

“Our hearts go out to the families, friends and colleagues of all who died. May they rest in peace.”

And Irish Lifeboats hailed the ‘courage’ of the crew of Rescue 116: ‘On this night, five years ago, four Irish Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter crews #Rescue116 set out on a mission and they never came back.

“Please take a moment to remember their courage and service and to remember their families and the Irish Coastguard family. #GoneNeverForgotten”

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