Marine Institute’s robot continuing to play key role in search for Rescue 116 crew

The Galway-based Marine Institute’s ROV Holland 1 remotely operated vehicle is continuing to assist in the search and recovery operation for Coast Guard rescue helicopter R116, off the coast of North Mayo.

The funeral takes place today in Co Louth of R116 co-pilot Capt Mark Duffy whose remains were recovered from the wreckage last weekend.

The Institute’s ROV team worked Saturday night into Sunday morning in challenging sea conditions using specialist cutting equipment to allow divers safe access to the wreckage to recover the body of Captain Duffy, on Sunday morning. Continuing efforts to search for two R116 crewmembers still missing, the ROV team worked through Sunday night into Monday morning surveying the wreckage and surrounding area.

The Marine Institute and Geological Survey’s INFOMAR team carried out seabed mapping of the site to assist with the ongoing search.

The Marine Institute is working closely with the Coast Guard, the Air Accident Investigation Unit, Commissioners of Irish Lights, Geological Survey Ireland, P&O Maritime Services, the Navy, An Garda Síochána, and local skippers.

The Marine Institute’s ROV Holland 1 remotely operated vehicle was deployed from the Commissioners of Irish Lights vessel, the ILV Granuaile. The ROV has high definition cameras, powerful lighting, robotic arms, was fitted with other specialist equipment to assist with the operation, for example cutting equipment as well as a ‘ROV homer’ capable of receiving signals from a “Black Box”. During a dive on Wednesday March 22, the ROV located rescue helicopter R116 on the sea bed on the eastern side of Black Rock, at a depth of approx. 40m.

Experienced surveyors from the national seabed mapping programme, INFOMAR have been creating 3D and 2D images of the seabed that have identified target points for investigation and are helping direct the ROV operation and assist with planning and safety of diver operations.

The INFOMAR team completed a side scan sonar survey of the wreckage and surrounding area on Sunday from local vessel, MV Ross Aine to inform the ongoing search operation.

The Marine Institute will continue to cooperate with the Air Accident Investigation Unit, the Coast Guard, An Garda Síochána, and local persons and agencies to recover the missing crew members.



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