Efforts continue to locate three missing Coast Guard members

The search for three men whose helicopter crashed off the Mayo coast on Monday night is continuing this morning.

Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith were on board the Rescue 116 when it lost contact with the coastguard.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, one of the pilots, was confirmed dead yesterday afternoon.

While the search for three crewmen was scaled back last night, the operation is back in full swing off Blacksod this morning.

The Celtic Exlorer, a marine vessel from Galway is using sonar to search the sea bed, while Navy vessels the LE Eithne and LE Roisin are also involved.

Two coastguard helicopters from Sligo and Shannon will take part in the air search, while the Air Corps will also lend its support.

Coastguard units and lifeboats from Achill and Ballyglass are also taking part – as are five fishing vessels.

A yellow warning for small craft is in place at nearby Erris Head and significant sea swells are making work more difficult.

Weather conditions are also expected to deteriorate later.

Locating the rescue helicopter’s black box will be a priority today, while the air accident investigation unit tries to understand what caused it to crash.

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