It was on the first Friday in July in 1999 that Rescue 111 crashed in dense fog in the sand dunes of Tramore Beach. That year the first Friday was July 2 but this year it’s today.
The four crew who lost their young lives that night live on in our memories here in Tramore and we continue to live in awe of their bravery.
Tonight, I really want to salute the four men who perished that terrible night and send fondest wishes to their families, friends and colleagues.
Sgt. Patrick Mooney, aged 34
Capt. David O’Flaherty, aged 30
Capt. Michael Baker, aged 28
Cpl. Niall Byrne, aged 24
Sadly, 2017, which marks the 18th anniversary of the loss of the crew of Rescue 111 is also a year which has seen the deaths (March 14) of all four crew members of Rescue 116 in Co. Mayo. This tragedy is still very, very raw and has underlined, yet again, the extent to which those who work in Search and Rescue and risk their lives for the rest of us deserve to be recognised as true heroes and thanked by us all from the very bottom of our hearts.