Widow of coast guard hero Ciaran Smith suing the State over death

by Sylvia Pownall

The widow of Rescue 116 coast guard Ciaran Smith is suing the State over his death.

Solicitors acting on behalf of Martina Smith lodged High Court papers on September 6, instigating legal action against the Minister for Transport.

Winchman Ciaran, who was originally from Swords but lived in Oldtown, was lost at sea in the R116 disaster at Blacksod Bay in Co Mayo in March, 2017.

The bodies of co-pilots Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy were recovered. Ciaran’s colleague, winch operator Paul Ormsby, was also lost at sea.

Mum-of-three Martina has also named CHC Ireland, the company which supplies all search and rescue helicopters to the coast guard, in the legal papers.

The Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, which was responding to an emergency call on March 14, 2017, collided with a remote island off the Mayo coast known as Black Rock.

It later emerged that a number of concerns had been raised about pilot life jackets, navigation equipment, aeronautical maps and safety regulations aboard the rescue helicopters.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit identified in its preliminary report into the crash that none of the personal locator beacons worn by the four crew members were activated.

Tributes were paid to Ciaran, a keen cyclist and active member of Wild Geese GAA, along with the three other crew members on The Late Late Show earlier this month.

His father-in-law, Aidan, and Martina’s brother, Kevin, appeared on the RTE show and accepted a medal of bravery on the family’s behalf.

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