The sister of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick has spoken about her loss as the first anniversary of the tragic R116 rescue helicopter crash off the north Mayo coast approaches. That's according to today’s Irish Independent.

In a posting yesterday on twitter Niamh Fitzpatrick wrote "It's nearly a year since my sister died. Almost 52 weeks since I last saw her. I never went that long in my whole life without seeing her. Now I'll live the rest of my life without ever seeing her again.

"Make sure that your loved ones know that you love them. It does help," she said.

The post received a huge reaction online, with many people sending their best wishes and support to the Fitzpatrick family, along with all the families bereaved in the tragedy.

Capt Fitzpatrick, along with Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith, died when their helicopter crashed at Blackrock Island, off Blacksod , in the early hours of March 14 last year.

The bodies of both Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith have not been recovered, despite extensive air,sea and shore searches.

A preliminary inquest into the deaths had been due to open last week in Belmullet, but was deferred until a later date - which has yet to be confirmed - due to the severe weather conditions.

It is understood the coroner is hoping to be in a position to issue certificates of death, which will allow the deaths to be formally registered.

However, it is believed that after some matters are dealt with, an application will be made for an adjournment of the inquest, because there are ongoing investigations by gardaí and the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU).


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