R116 Crash

Tom DolanPhoto taken by author at Howth in Oct 2007 during Ireland's first hosting of the North Atlantic MRCC conference.
As a contributor to lugnad.ie and a former Irish Coast Guard I would like to say something about the devastating news which reached us early on Tuesday 14th March 2017. Words fail to convey such a tragedy yet words are all we have to deal with the trauma felt by all who are touched by this disaster. We have the capability to talk about it. I was in charge of the watch on the night of July 1st/2nd 1999 when R111, an Air-Corps helicopter, crashed returning from a successful mission to locate people missing off Dungarvan. Attending the funeral was of great comfort to me and also being the recipient of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD). I did not know the four crew of R111 though I had probably talked to them from time to time. I know all of the crew of R116 very well having dealt with them during communications or briefing them prior to incidents. Our job at Dublin Coast Guard or MRCC Dublin was to task whatever resources were required to successfully conclude a mission. We knew their capabilities and we relied on them just as they relied on us. Each of the crew of R116 were dedicated and interchangeable as they rotated shifts and jobs from time to time. Many words will be written about each individual and they deserve the highest praise but they each contributed to the success of each mission. Fate and faith interchange in our lives. None of us know our fate but faith is a great source of comfort at times like this. As a coordinator who retired three years ago I am reminded of the idiosyncrasies of each individual and I miss Paul’s pronunciation of the word Dublin which always came out “double-linn”. Ar deis de go raibh a n’ainmeacha, dilis. Joe Ryan (Irish Coast Guard, retired).
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