On 13 March 2017, the Rescue 116 crew of Capt. Dara Fitzpatrick,Â Capt. Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and CiarÃ¡n Smith took off from DublinÂ airport just after 11 p.m. for a medical evacuation off the west coastÂ of Ireland. The first indication of disaster came when the crewÂ failed to answer a radio call at 12.46 a.m. Shortly after 2 a.m. on 14Â March, sister helicopter Rescue 118 spotted a casualty and debrisÂ in the water. There would be no survivors from R116, and extensiveÂ searches failed to locate the bodies of two of the four crew.
The crash occurred just six months after the loss of experienced Irish Coast Guard volunteer CaitrÃ¬ona Lucas, from Doolin Coast Guard in Co.Â Clare, and eighteen years after the loss of four Air Corps crew who wereÂ returning from a night rescue in thick fog off the south-east coast.Â
In Search and Rescue, Lorna Siggins exposes the shocking systemicÂ flaws that led to these tragic deaths, but also looks at successfulÂ rescues where, despite all the odds, the courage and dedication ofÂ members of the Irish Coast Guard, Air Corps, RNLI, fishing crew and theÂ volunteers who work with them have saved countless lives.