CHC Ireland, who provide the Irish Coast Guard with rescue helicopters has said it will carry out a review of all its operational route guides which are used by rescue helicopters following the tragedy of Rescue 116.
CHC Ireland have also ‘noted’ recommendations within the preliminary report following the tragic events last month when the Dublin based rescue helicopter Rescue116 on which Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, Co-Pilot Mark Duffy, Winch Operator Paul Ormsby and Winchman Ciarán Smith were on board when the tragedy occurred at Blockrock island, 13 km off the Mayo coast.
Photo (Irish Coast Guard)
The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) issued its preliminary report on Thursday night which has recommended that CHC Ireland review all its operational route guides with a view to improving information on obstacle heights and positions, terrain clearance, vertical profile, the positions of waypoints in relation to obstacles and Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems (EGPWS) database terrain and obstacle limitations.
The absence of vital information and map data of Blackrock in the EGPWS on the operators route guide are key parts of the investigation.
Satellite beacons installed on the crews lifejackets have also raised concerns in the preliminary report. It found that none of the crew were located by their lifejackets satellite beacons, which is worrying and has raised questions about how they are installed. Investigators fear that the proximity of GPS antenna may have prevented the lifejacket beacons from activating.
CHC Ireland has said “A review of all route guides in use is well under way as part of our own internal action. We will continue to fully support the ongoing AAIU investigation.”
Although this is only a preliminary report, it does not however identify the root cause of this tragedy. CHC Ireland said “Speculation as to the root cause is unhelpful to the process and potentially hurtful to the families and friends of those involved. Our thoughts remain with the family, friends and colleagues of those who were lost and we continue to support the search for our two remaining crewmen.”
The search continues for two remaining crew members, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.