Rescue 116: Widow of pilot Mark Duffy welcomes pending report

Hermione Duffy says there have been ‘many long and lonely days and nights without Mark’

The widow of helicopter pilot Captain Mark Duffy who died in the Coastguard Rescue 116 crash in 2017 has welcomed the pending publication of an official investigation report saying it would deliver her family closure.

Capt Duffy died alongside fellow crew members Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and winch crew Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith when their aircraft collided with Blackrock Island off the coast of Mayo in the early hours of March 14th. His body was later recovered.

In a statement ahead of the report's publication on Friday, his widow Hermione Duffy reflected on the "many long and lonely days and nights without Mark in the nearly five years since the night our worlds were thrown upside down and Mark lost his life".

“Esmé, Fionn and I are very relieved to see the publication of this report,” she said, referencing their children.


On Thursday RTE's Primetime carried a report with details of the official investigation, but Ms Duffy said she would not comment on the findings.

“It has been extremely challenging and emotional to navigate our grief, and we welcome the publication of the final report of the AAIU (Air Accident Investigation Unit) and the measure of closure which it provides. The work of the AAIU in the preparation of the report is to be commended,” she said.

“The remit of the report is clear and whilst questions may arise, regarding elements within and outside of the report’s parameters, it is not for me to comment publicly on them.”

Ms Duffy said her husband had been an excellent pilot and father and, together with his colleagues, shared a deep commitment to his search and rescue role, always taking pride and satisfaction from his work.

She appealed for people to remember that “four honourable souls lost their precious lives that night in the service of others, and in circumstances which are harrowing and traumatic to read of and which have left wives, children, parents and extended families bereft.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times