‘I remember Dara with her head back, laughing’, sister says in emotional interview

Posted in Connect on August 28, 2017.

‘I remember Dara with her head back, laughing’, sister says in emotional interview | Irish Examiner

The sister of Flight 116 captain Dara Fitzpatrick has said that when she thinks of Dara, it is with her head back, laughing.

Dara died with her three colleagues when their rescue helicopter crashed west of Blacksod, Co Mayo, in March.

Her sister Niamh spoke of the bravery of Dara’s colleagues who rescued her and brought her to the mortuary in Castlebar Hospital, in an interview with Ray D’Arcy on RTÉ Radio 1 today.

She said getting the call that the helicopter had come down was still “so vivid” in her memory, saying that it sometimes feels like 10 years ago and others as little as five minutes ago.

In an emotional interview, Niamh spoke of the moment they found out about Dara. She said: “I can still remember the screams in the kitchen, when they said the body was Dara’s, and you know when they come to the door that that’s what they’re going to tell you… and you just know in that minute that you’re never going to see her again.”

Niamh recalled the support she and her family have had since, but there are days when she allows herself to rage – thinking of the waste of those four lives taken in March, saying: “There are nasty evil, awful people out there, there are also fabulous people…Why would you take these four?”

Speaking of Dara’s colleagues, Niamh told Ray how Rescue 115 was tasked with coming to Blacksod to pick Dara up from the lifeboat.

“They had to take Dara and put her in the back of the helicopter that she flew and they brought her to Castlebar Hospital to the mortuary and they carried her in.

“(They had to say to themselves) ‘I can’t in this moment think of this person in a way that’s going to stop me doing my job, I have to find a way to look at them that allows me to get them home’.”

Looking ahead to Dara’s birthday and Christmas, Niamh said that she’s dreading their first Christmas without her.

“When I close my eyes, I see Dara laughing. I see her in the middle of our family, with her head back and she’s laughing,” she said.

Irish Examiner 24th August 2017

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