Search icon


31st Dec 2017

Sister of Rescue 116’s Dara Fitzpatrick emotionally looks back on 2017

Rescue 116 disappeared off the north coast of Mayo in March 2017.

Denise Curtin

“We are stronger than we think.”

2017 has been a year full of ultimate highs and some tragic lows and one of these devastating lows came when Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 disappeared off the north coast of Mayo in March 2017.

The helicopter which crashed killed all lives onboard including crew members Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered at sea soon after the helicopter went down, but died later in hospital. The body of pilot Mark Duffy was found in the wreckage of the helicopter some weeks later, while the bodies of Ormsby and Smith have yet to be recovered.

Speaking about an extremely tough year for her family and loved ones, Niamh Fitzpatrick , sister to Rescue 116 Captain Dara Fitzpatrick recalls what 2017 has thought her in an emotional post. One of her main points is that: “Loving someone doesn’t stop because they die.”

In a statement, the Irish Coast Guard thanked all of the people involved in 2017, and expressed sympathy with the Rescue 116 families.

“The Coast Guard has thanked the general public, and the many statutory and voluntary bodies that assisted with the search for the crew of R116 following the shocking accident that occurred off Blackrock Co Mayo on the morning of 14 March 2017, resulting in the loss of all four crew.”

“The Coast Guard is mindful of the devastating pain and loss that is felt by the Fitzpatrick, Duffy, Smith and Ormsby families and also acknowledges the resilience shown by helicopter crews, staff at the marine rescue coordination centres and volunteer teams in working through the loss while continuing to deliver maritime Search and Rescue and other services to the wider community.”

In total, 3,316 people were assisted this year by the Irish Coast Guard and of all those assisted, 335 were classed as “lives saved”.

The Irish Cost Guard wants to remind people to stay safe this winter especially when near seas and cliffs and to remind you of the number 112 in case of an emergency.