RSVP Magazine

Officials ‘hopeful’ of finding find the three crew members of Rescue 116 tomorrow during 3 hour window

Officials searching for the three crew members of Rescue 116 still missing off the Mayo coast say they have a “three-hour window” tomorrow in which to find the men.

Operations to recover the bodies of Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith have been severely hampered by fierce weather conditions.

However, officials now hope a three-hour window between low tides will be give them enough time to find the submerged aircraft.

Naval Service and salvage experts are said to be “very hopeful” they will find the remains of the three men trapped within the wrecked fuselage of the stricken chopper, according to The Irish Mirror

The wreckage of the Sikorsky S92 lies at a depth of 40 metres, about 60 metres off Blackrock Island and lighthouse.

The lighthouse is 15km offshore from Blacksod, where the chopper was meant to land to refuel moments before it vanished on Tuesday.

The detection of a black box signal in that area has buoyed hopes that the bulk of the wreckage can be found, with the three crewmen inside.

Declan Geoghegan of the Irish Coast Guard said the likelihood was that the black box recorder is still attached to the helicopter.

He said it was also more likely than not that the missing crew members are still inside.

“If you look at helicopter crashes, 92 or 93% of the time the bodies are found within the wreckage of the fuselage, it is so small,” he said.

“The other thing is that they are either strapped in or tethered – one or the other.”

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