Monday 20 March 2017 - Defence Forces Assets Deployed in Blacksod.

The Defence Forces currently have approximately 80 Army, Air Corps and Naval Service personnel, along with a ship and aircraft, deployed as part of the multi-agency search operation in Blacksod which is being led by the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard, An Garda Síochána, RNLI, Marine Institute, Commissioner of Irish Lights, Air Accident Investigation Unit and Defence Forces assets and personnel are deployed in the multi-agency operation being conducted in the vicinity of Blacksod, County Mayo. They have received substantial support from local fishermen whose local knowledge of the area of operations is very valuable.

Overall command of the search remains with the Coast Guard, while the LÉ Eithne was appointed On Scene Co-ordinator (OSC) of the operation. LÉ Eithne is responsible for managing all of the assets on-scene. LÉ Eithne has a sub-sea imaging capacity called a Multi-beam Echo Sounder; this equipment, plus a Side Scanner Sonar have been deployed to identify search areas of interest.

A Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), a Recompression Chamber and other specialist Naval Diving Section equipment have been transferred to Galway where they have been embarked upon the Commissioner of Irish Lights’ ship Granuaile. Granuaile has subsequently transported the equipment to the Area of Operations off Blacksod Bay. Should conditions allow, this equipment will enable Naval Service Divers to conduct deep and sustained diving operations in the vicinity of Blackrock. Naval Service personnel are also using hydrophones to listen for the location of the missing black box.

Air Corps assets, including a CASA CN235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and an AW 139 Helicopter, have also been made available. The CASA CN235 has been assisting in the visual search for R116 and her crew. The AW 139 is providing aerial assistance to the AAIU. In addition, Army personnel with mountaineering expertise are working closely with the AAIU to facilitate a safe and secure environment for their personnel to conduct investigations at Blackrock lighthouse.

Difficult weather conditions are currently hampering the search operation, Defence Forces assets remain at the disposal of the Coast Guard as necessary.

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Press Release Date:  Monday 20 March 2017

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Pat O’Connor

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile : 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer

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