A third State agency will investigate the loss of four air crew in the Irish Coast Guard Rescue 116 helicopter crash off the north Co Mayo coast in March.

The Health and Safety Authority is now working with An Garda Síochána on a joint investigation that will result in a file being forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Four Irish Coast Guard air crew – Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith – died when their helicopter collided with Blackrock island on March 14th. The bodies of the two winch crew are still missing.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), which has ruled out mechanical fault in its preliminary report, is still the lead investigating agency. However, its remit is to prevent further accidents and not to apportion fault or blame, whereas the HSA has powers of enforcement action – up to and including prosecutions – in relation to crew workplace safety.

Source: Irish Times