Wexford remembers Rescue 116
wexford TOWN paid heartfelt tribute to the crew of the Rescue 116 helicopter which crashed off Blacksod Island on the coast of Mayo on March 14.
A flotilla of small boats led by the Rosslare lifeboat, flanked by Wexford's inshore lifeboat, sailed into the harbour beneath grey skies and biting winds on Friday evening.
Members of the RNLI, the coast guard and the other emergency services, Wexford Mayor Cllr Frank Staples and people from town and county lined up Crescent Quay as flares were fired into the gathering gloom.
The Rescue 117 Sikorsky, so often flown from its base in Waterford to Wexford by Captain Dara Fitzpatrick who died in the Mayo tragedy, flew- and hovered over the harbour during the tribute, which was MCd by Wexford RNLI's Peter Scallan.
The bodies of the Rescue 116 pilots, Capt Fitzpatrick and Capt Mark Duffy, have been recovered, but the search continues off the Mayo coast for the remaining two crew members, winchman Ciarán Smith, aged 38, and winch operator Paul Ormsby, aged 53.
As the Last Post was sounded, wreaths were carefully placed in the fast-moving waters of Wexford Harbour.
During the memorial gathering Fr Aodhan Marken and Canon Arthur Minion led an ecumenical service touching on Ireland's and Wexford's close connections with the sea and the loss everyone feels following the tragedy that befell Rescue 116 and its crew who died serving others.
Thanking the people of Wexford for their support, Wexford RNLI described the memorial as 'another amazing tribute to our fallen friends'.
'We wanted to show our deep appreciation for their dedication and to remember them, respectfully,' said Lorraine Galvin, one of the Wexford RNLI helms who knew Dara Fitzpatrick and had flown with her in Rescue 117.
A book of condolence was available for people attending the memorial to sign.