This week marks the 25th Anniversary of one of the worst disasters in County Waterford, where four members of the Air Corps lost their lives after their helicopter crashed near Tramore.

It was one of the most sombre days in living memory for Tramore and the wider community, as well as for the rest of the country. The four crew members, Captain Dave O’Flaherty (30) from Lucan; Captain Mick Baker (28) from Wexford; Sergeant Paddy Mooney (34) from Meath; and Corporal Niall Byrne (25) from Dublin all died shortly after midnight on 2nd July, 1999, when their helicopter crashed into sand dunes in thick fog.

The Dauphin helicopter (DH248) known as Rescue 111 had just completed a successful rescue mission off the Waterford coastline that evening, on 1st July, 1999. They had aided a vessel lost in bad weather off the coast near Dungarvan and after locating the vessel and guiding it and the lifeboat back to harbour, Rescue 111 turned for base at Waterford Airport. After several unsuccessful attempts at trying to make an instrument landing system approaches in extremely foggy weather, they opted for an approach from the coast, which ultimately ended in disaster.


25 years on from that tragic event, a Tramore-based Councillor has asked the local authority to consider giving recognition to the fire brigade who responded to the emergency that night, who bravely tackled the post-impact fire at the scene and recovered the bodies of the perished crew members of Rescue 111.

Independent Councillor Joe Conway has written to the Mayor Jason Murphy and acting Chief Executive Ivan Grimes, asking them to request the council’s Corporate Policy Group to consider giving the members of Tramore Fire Brigade, who were tasked to the scene that awful night, some sort of official recognition for their bravery, dedication and hard work that fateful night.

Speaking to The Munster Express, Cllr. Conway said: “I am asking that a suitable response be given to recognise the courage of the fire brigade on that night, those living and posthumously”.

“I think they truly deserve it,” Cllr. Conway added.