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'We're gone' - Tragic final words from Rescue 116 cockpit

NewsBy Sunday World
The Irish Coast Guard at Blacksod Pier during the search for Rescue 116 along the Co Mayo coastline (Pic: Steve Humphreys/Independent.ie)
The Irish Coast Guard at Blacksod Pier during the search for Rescue 116 along the Co Mayo coastline (Pic: Steve Humphreys/Independent.ie)

A preliminary report into the downed Rescue 116 has revealed the coast guard helicopter 'pitched up rapidly' in its final seconds.

The report also revealed that the helicopter's on-board warning system did not have data related to Blackrock island.

An obstacle database on their system did not list the lighthouse on Blackrock, and the terrain database did not have information on the terrain on the island.

Audio data revealed that Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and co-pilot Mark Duffy had discussed earlier in the flight that it had been a long time since either had visited the island.

It showed that the helicopter was in stable level flight at 200 feet on a track towards Blackrock in the moments before impact.

In the final seconds the helicopter pitched up rapidly, impacted with terrain at the western end of Blackrock and 'departed from controlled flight', the report states.

Audio from the black box revealed that one of the crew members seated in the rear of the helicopter - either Paul Ormsby or Ciaran Smith -  identified an island in front of the helicopter, and recommended a right turn:

"K…looking at an island just in, directly ahead of us now guys, you want to come right," he said.

The commander, Dara Fitzpatrick, responded: "OK, come right just confirm?"

The crew member then said to turn "about 20 degrees right".

The commander then asked the co-pilot, Mark Duffy, to 'select heading', which he confirmed by replying 'Roger'.

Just two seconds later, the rear crew member was recorded as saying: "come right now, come right, COME RIGHT."

The last recorded audio from the flight deck was the co-pilot saying "we're gone".

Via Independent.ie