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Tributes paid to Coast Guard

Wednesday, 15th March, 2017 1:01am

President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to the Coast Guard, after yesterday’s tragedy off the west coast.

At approximately 1am Monday, contact was lost with one of the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Helicopters, the Dublin-based R116, with four crew members on board, prompting a major sea search off the Co. Mayo coast approximately six miles west of Blacksod.

At the time of going to press, the Irish Coast Guard had confirmed that senior pilot Captain Dara Fitzpatrick (45), had died in hospital after she was rescued from the sea on Tuesday morning.

Leading tributes to Captain Fitzpatrick, President Higgins said, “Today marks a dark day in the history of the Coast Guard, with a member of this important service losing her life while providing assistance to others.”

“We are all grateful for the courage, resolution and exemplary commitment to the aims of the Coast Guard that Captain Fitzpatrick and her colleagues have consistently displayed.

“My thoughts are with her family at this difficult moment and also with the families of the missing crew.

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