Report into fatal R116 helicopter crash to raise "significant questions" 9 months ago

Report into fatal R116 helicopter crash to raise "significant questions"

The report is expected to be published on Friday.

A report into the R116 helicopter crash in 2017 that claimed the lives of four crew members is expected to raise "significant questions" when published, as expected, on Friday (5 November).


Having embarked on a search and rescue mission, the crew of Paul Ormsby, Dara Fitzpatrick, Ciarán Smith and Mark Duffy died when their helicopter crashed onto an island off the coast of Mayo on 14 March, 2017.

Reports that followed the accident indicated that several pieces of vital electronic equipment failed to show the island clearly, or failed to indicate that it was there at all.

According to RTÉ Prime Time, an Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) report will cast doubt over whether or not the mission in question was necessary.

Having received a call from the captain of a fishing trawler in Donegal who was seeking medical advice, the R116 crew responded in a bid to airlift the man to safety.


According to documents relating to the report, viewed by Prime Time, there was a "mix-up" in communication that led to the crew being dispatched to attend the vessel.

It has now been questioned whether or not there was an urgent medical issue to respond to.

"It is a very serious matter for a medical evacuation using a helicopter when the vessel involved is a 140 miles west of the Irish coastline," aviation expert Kevin Byrne told Prime Time.

"There are no navigation aids out there. You want to be very certain that, before you put these search and rescue crew in peril, that the mission is approved, is worthwhile, and must be done," he added.


Following an extensive investigation, Friday's AAIU report is expected to contain 40 new safety recommendations in respect to the R116 tragedy.

Update – Friday at 9.45am

The AAIU report has officially been published.

You can view the full report here.


Update ends

Featured Image via Eamonn Farrell /