RTE News reports:
A search operation is under way for a Coast Guard helicopter missing off the west coast.
The "major sea search" is being carried out around 10km west of Black Sod in Co Mayo after the Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter with four crew on board lost contact at 1am.
Irish Times reports:
All weather lifeboats from Ballyglass and Achill are also there along with five local fishing vessels.
The missing helicopter had been providing cover for another coast guard helicopter on a mission when contact was lost.
They were evacuating a crewman in need of medical attention on a UK fishing vessel about 150 miles west of Eagle Island in Co Mayo.
Map via Irish Times
Coast Guard helicopter with four crew missing off west coast
Spokesman for the Coast Guard said:Irish Independent"The Sligo based Coast Guard helicopter R118 completed an early morning medical evacuation (medevac) of a crewman requiring urgent medical attention from a UK registered fishing vessel approximately 150 miles west of Eagle Island in County Mayo.
"Russian fishing vessel some 180 miles North West of Erris Head Co. Mayo. Owing to the distance involved safety and communication support, known as Top Cover, was provided by the second Coast Guard helicopter, the Dublin based R116."
"At approximately 1am contact was lost with one of our SAR Helicopters. A major sea search is ongoing off the county Mayo coast approximately six miles west of Blacksod.
"The search operation is being coordinated by the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre in Malin Head. Both helicopters refuelled at Blacksod prior to transiting to the scene."
Statement from Coastguard
more to follow