Updated: 17/03/17 : 06:45:34
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Heavy swells hamper helicopter recovery mission

The full scale air and sea search for the missing crewmen from the Coast Guard helicopter continues from first light this morning, St Patricks's Day.

A significant section of the wreckage of Rescue 116 was yesterday found close to the lighthouse on Blackrock, 13km west of the north Mayo coast.

A team from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), and two British investigators spent 90 minutes yesterday on the isolated outcrop, which is close to the last known position of the helicopter.

The Irish Lights tender Granuaile, which has a dynamic positioning system allowing it to operate in a heavy swell, has now arrived in Blacksod Bay to assist with the effort.

It's heavy lifting crane is expected to raise the main fuselage of the stricken rescue helicopter where the search co-ordinators hope the bodies of the three missing crewmen are. It is also hoped that the black box will also be recovered. Follow the progress of the Granuaile below.

They missing crew are, co-pilot Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith.

The funeral of senior pilot Capt Dara Fitzpatrick (45) will take place in Glencullen, Dublin, tomorrow, Saturday.

Meanwhile it has emerged that the downed helicopter was brought into service at the last minute, to provide top cover for the Sligo-based Rescue 118 on a long haul mission over the Atlantic, because a shortage of staff personnel the Air Corps could not provide the standard Search and Rescue Casa military aircraft normally used in such situations.

At the last game in the Six Nations Championships tomorrow at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin between Ireland and England a moment of silence is expected to be held in memory of the heroic crew of Rescue 116.

See the satellite positioning system of all graft involved in the search HERE