Ciaran’s family speak of ‘living nightmare’

by Sylvia Pownall

THE sister of coastguard Ciaran Smith, who has been missing for three weeks, has described the tragedy as a “living nightmare”, adding: “We need them home now.”
Orla Smith issued a heartfelt plea for help in finding 38-year-old winch operator Ciaran (right) from Oldtown and his colleague, Paul Ormsby (53) from Ballyfermot.
They have not yet been located since their Sikorsky S-92 helicopter crashed into Blackrock island off the Mayo coast in the early hours of March 14. Orla said: “For my family and Paul Ormsby’s family, it is a living nightmare. We need those boys home now. We really do.”
A minute’s silence was observed at a minors match involving players from Wild Geese GAA Club, of which Ciaran was an active member, on Saturday. The dad-of-three was due to celebrate his 39th birthday this Sunday.
Orla said the kindness and support shown to her parents, Teresa and Michael, and the rest of the family had helped them through the tragedy.
She also praised the efforts of rescue workers and investigators – and appealed for local fishermen to help bring Ciaran and Paul home to their loved ones.
She said: “We’re doing our best to keep going, to stay as strong as possible and to stay as positive as we can. But it is tough.
“My parents need them home, my sister-in-law needs him home. My nieces need him home. They have to come home now.
“To all fishing vessels big and small, we are appealing to them to please come to help us now. We want to try and find Paul and Ciaran. If they’re in the sea and they’re there to be found, we need to use the fishermen’s knowledge to try and find them.”
Ciaran, a keen GAA footballer and cyclist, was due to celebrate his 39th birthday this Sunday with his wife, Martina, and his three young girls, aged 7, 10 and 12.
Orla said: “We were hopeful that the two guys would be with the wreckage, but they’re not. Both families need their men home. That’s where they belong.”
Rescue agencies expressed deep disappointment at the failure to find any trace of the missing men after the wreckage of Rescue 116 was lifted from the seabed.
Irish coast guard operations manager Gerard O’Flynn said: “The hope remains; we haven’t given up hope.”
Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered from the sea within hours of the crash, and the body of co-pilot Mark Duffy was retrieved by divers from the cockpit last Sunday.

Related Articles