Dozens of fishing vessels from fishing ports in Donegal have joined more than 100 other fishing vessels in a day-long co-ordinated sea search today for two missing Irish Coast guard Rescue 116 airmen.
As many of the vessels left Killybegs a local website, Killybegs online posted this message: “Thoughts and prayers today for all the fishermen out searching for the missing helicopter crew. May it be successful and bring closure to their devastated families.”
The sweep, which has been planned by three fishing industry organisations in response to an appeal by Mr Smith’s sister, Orla, fanned out from the crash location at Blackrock island, 13km west of the north Mayo coast, early this Saturday morning.
The Irish Times reported earlier today that air, sea and shore scans by the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI lifeboats, Civil Defence volunteers, an Air Corps Casa maritime patrol aircraft and the Shannon - based Rescue 115 helicopter are also taking place, according to Irish Coast Guard operations manager Gerard O’Flynn.
RNLI lifeboats from Ballyglass and Achill in Co Mayo, Sligo, Bundoran and Arranmore, Co Donegal, along with Killybegs and Killala Coast Guard, will be on scene for the day and will keep in communication with all vessels, according to the RNLI.
Garrett Morrison from the RNLI said the search area was a very concentrated one: "We have a very concentrated search area and it is very closely co-ordinated by the Coast Guard as well.
He said crews had launched from Arranmore in Donegal to as far south as Achill Island.