take much for granted in 2017 having reached an era of near-instant
communication. Machines and communication routes dont work
on their own. Hard-working, family-orientated and ordinary decent
people make these systems work and in particular when it comes to
safety at sea for all marine users. We often forget those very people
have family like you and I, friends like you and I.
the 14th of March Captain Mark Duffy, Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and
colleagues Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby attached to the Irish Coast
Guard left their Dublin base by helicopter to carry out support
for what we have come to consider as a routine rescue of a fishermen
injured on a fishing vessel one hundred and fifty miles off the
west coast of Ireland.
all go about our day-to-day business not thinking that at some point
on a given-day someone somewhere will get into a tricky or life-threatening
situation. We make that phone call for help knowing that the most
professional and hard-working people will start an operation to
close the gap between the person in need of help and them with the
sole focus of bringing that person back safely.
DNA is unique, it comprises of putting their own lives at risk to
save others without giving it a second thought. They wouldnt
have it any other way. They are special people gifted by an unequalled
lack of selfishness.
sadly on this occasion the rescuers themselves got into difficulty.
Recovering the entire crew became the primary objective after their
tragic loss, with the secondary objective of trying to understand
what actually caused the accident. We owe our very deep gratitude
to all of the crew of rescue helicopter 116, to all of their colleagues
and to all the rescue services in general. This accident has brought
into sharp focus, as it has done many times in the past for the
Irish Fishing industry, the pain experienced by families and loved
ones when people are tragically lost while doing their job.
is particularly heart-wrenching for sons and daughters, brothers
and sisters, mothers and fathers, close friends. Behind the person
there is a whole world that collapses when, suddenly in situations
like this, there is debris everywhere.
Irish Fishing industry is extremely privileged to have such brilliant
people across all of the rescue services, available to them when
in need of help. Many give their time on a voluntary basis while
others are full-time employees. Either way they provide a professional
service and never waver in their commitment to bringing injured
people or those who have been tragically lost back to their loved
ones. We are deeply indebted to all of these people and in particular
to the crew of rescue helicopter 116.
Mark Duffy, Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, winch men Ciaran Smith and
Paul Ormsby were some of the top lifesavers in Ireland and it is
certainly poignant that they lost their lives doing what they loved
the most, helping others. On behalf of my own organisation and the
Irish Fishing industry I would like to offer our sincere condolences
to their respective families, friends and colleagues in what is
a very painful time for them.