Updated: 25/03/17 : 07:14:03
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Body of Rescue 116 crewman found in chopper wreckage

Gardaí confirmed late last night that the body of one of the three air crew from Rescue 116 has been located in the cockpit of the helicopter off Blackrock island in north Mayo.

The identity of the crewman has not been officially confirmed by gardaí as yet however it is believed to be Rescue 116 pilot Mark Duffy.

Naval Service divers attempted to remove the body from the aircraft earlier but undersea conditions proved challenging.

Operations continued overnight on the Irish Lights ship Granuaile at the location supported by the Naval Service patrol ship LE Samuel Beckett and Garda divers with attempts being made to secure the remains and bring them to the surface using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).

The ROV is being operated from the deck of the vessel and search crews are hoping they can manage to successfully take the body from the wreckage.

The location of the other two crew members, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith, remains unknown. It is still hoped that they might be elsewhere in the wreckage.

Families of the three Coast Guard personnel were briefed throughout yesterday about the extensive efforts of Naval Divers, assisted by local boats around Blackrock.

A huge air and land search is due to resume at first light, as the multiple agencies involved in the operation seek to recover the other missing men.

Civil Defence teams from around the country are travelling to north Mayo, where drone technology will be used to access miles of coastline.

Meanwhile the flight recorder was taken on board the Commissioners of Irish Lights’ vessel, Granuaile.

It will be taken to Dublin before being brought to the UK. The AAIU said the reorder appears to be in very good condition with no external damage visible.

However it will have to be examined in the UK before it is clear if it has sustained any damage or not.

The black box contains both cockpit voice recordings and data on the history of the flight.