Special aerial tribute paid to crew of Rescue 116 who died three years ago

Replacement Rescue 116 helicopter draws a special heart sign in the square

Members of the Irish Coast Guard have paid a special aerial tribute to the crew of Rescue 116 on the third anniversary of their deaths.

On March 14th 2017 Rescue 116 left Dublin Airport to support a rescue operation off Co Mayo for a fisherman who was injured west of Blacksod.

On its return to Dublin, the helicopter crashed while making an attempt to refuel.

All four crew members on board, Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, Chief Pilot Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby, and winch man Ciáran Smith were killed. The bodies of Smith and Ormsby were never found.

One Friday the replacement Rescue 116 rescued a woman cut off by the tide on Merrion Strand on Friday and dropped her back safely on the beach.

In an anniversary tribute to their late colleagues, the crew ofthe R116 paid a special tribute .

They used their automatic identification system (AIS), like the footprint of the aircraft, to draw a heart in the sky and the letters and numbers R116.

The Irish Coast Guard Dun Laoghaire Facebook page posted: “The expression we heard recently sums up how most Irish Coast Guard personal today still feel now three years on about the loss. We are ok but just ok.”

The Rescue 116 Facebook page administrators paid their own tribute. “For one minute/Walk outside/Stand there in silence/Look up to the skyAnd remember/How brave they were.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times