Major search underway after cover helicopter for Sligo rescue mission disappears

A major search operation is underway off the west coast of Mayo this morning for a missing coastguard helicopter which lost contact in the early hours of this morning.

The Rescue 116 helicopter came from Dublin to provide cover for the Sligo helicopter (118) which was involved in a rescue operation about 150 miles west of Eagle Island in county Mayo.

In a statement this morning, the coastguard said this type of cover is usual when a rescue operation that far off the coast is taking place.

The statement confirms that contact was lost at about 1am this morning.

It also confirms that both vehicles refuelled at Blacksod prior to transiting to the scene.

There were 4 crew members on board.

The Sligo and Shannon SAR helicopters are on the scene this morning as part of the rescue operation which is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre in Malin Head.

Ger Hegarty is the Divisional controller at the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre – he says there was no indication that the helicopter had run into difficulty: