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  1. #1
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    Daithí Ó Cearbhalláin (FS Dave Carolan DSM (Retd))

    From IRCG Facebook.
    We regret to advise death of Daithí Ó Cearbhalláin after a short illness. He was a highly respected senior Coast Guard helicopter crewman who worked at our Shannon airport base. He gave outstanding service to SAR, both with the Irish Coast Guard and previously with the Irish Air Corps where he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. He was also a recipient of a Marine Meritorious medal. He will be missed by his many friends and colleagues and most of all by his wife and family.
    From Air Corps Facebook.
    It is with great sadness that we in the Irish Air Corps learned of the passing of Flight Sergeant (retired) Dave Carolan DSM. Dave served 21 years in the Defence Forces primarily as a helicopter crewman, and also with the Army Ranger Wing.
    The Helicopter Wing is the most decorated Unit in the Irish Defence Forces and Flight Sergeant Carolan DSM contributed to this legacy, being presented with the Sir Edward Maisie Lewis award, the Department of Marine Meritorious Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) with Distinction.
    This DSM was presented to, then, Corporal Carolan for “displaying a high degree of professionalism, initiative and resource, in assisting in the rescue of four trawlermen from the fishing vessel ‘Locative’ off the Donegal Coast on the 9th of March 1990. Cpl Carolan descended from the helicopter under extremely hazardous conditions and organised all four survivors for lifting”. Such acts of bravery exemplify the unit's motto "Go Mairidís Beo (That others may live)". It is especially poignant that Dave's passing occurred on the 17th anniversary of this act of heroism.
    Dave finished his career with the Irish Air Corps performing the role of chief aircrew examiner, ensuring his exacting standards were instilled within the next generation of helicopter aircrew.
    He will be missed by all those who knew him. Our thoughts are with his wife Dara and his family.
    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis

    The Distinguished Service Medal With Distinction
    848515 Corporal David Carolan
    For displaying a high degree of professionalism, initiative and resource, in assisted in the rescue of four trawlermen from the fishing vessel 'Locative' off the Donegal Coast on the 9th of March 1990. Cpl Carolan descended from the helicopter under extremely hazardous conditions and organised all four survivors for lifting.

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    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Space Lord of Terra morpheus's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Commander in Chief
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    May 2014
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    Obituary in today's IT
    One of State’s most experienced search and rescue airmen

    Last Updated: Saturday, May 27, 2017, 00:19
    Daithí Ó Cearbhalláin, who has died after a short illness, was one of the State’s most experienced search and rescue helicopter airmen, and a committed family man with a passion for music and the Irish language and an inimitable sense of humour.
    His passing in Co Clare occurred on the 27th anniversary of a rescue mission which he was decorated for, where he and his Air Corps colleagues assisted a fishing vessel in trouble in treacherous seas off Donegal.
    He was born in Manchester as the youngest of four children, and reared in Coolock in Dublin. He enlisted with the Defence Forces and was stationed in the Curragh when he met his wife, Dara – both aged 20 at the time. The couple married in May 1990 and moved to Leixlip, Co Kildare .
    He was accepted into the Army Ranger wing, but fulfilled a dream when he transferred to search and rescue with the Air Corps. The flight sergeant became a key member of winch crews on many missions, initially flying with the Alouette helicopters and then moving to the Dauphin which was equipped for night rescue.
    Search and rescue mission
    He was on the very first search and rescue mission carried out by the Air Corps from the State’s new search and rescue base at Shannon Airport.
    The Distinguished Service Medal the State conferred on him was for his role in assisting the Locative, a 65ft fishing boat with four crew on board which lost engine power and was taking in water off Arranmore Island, Co Donegal, on the night of March 8th/9th, 1990.
    In darkness and with an enormous swell, the RNLI Arranmore lifeboat coxswain John O’Donnell had to pull the fishing vessel around to allow a safe approach from the helicopter flown by Jurgen Whyte, now Air Accident Investigation Unit chief investigator.
    His second award was from the British Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Benevolent Society Award in 1992, for the rescue of crew from the French-registered fish factory ship Capitaine Pleven II in Galway Bay the previous year.
    A British RAF helicopter was also tasked to assist as there were 57 on board. The situation was so calm for the crew staying with the ship until the tide turned that the winchman was able to take a photograph – a rare occasion in a search and rescue situation.
    Ó Cearbhalláin moved to the Irish Coast Guard in 2002, working for CHC Ireland which had secured the Government search and rescue contract. By that time, there were four search and rescue bases: Dublin, Shannon, Waterford and Sligo. Dara and the family moved over with him to Feighquin, near Quin, Co Clare, in August 2003.
    Return to flying
    He became senior crewman and then chief crewman, responsible for standards and management. One of the projects he was involved with was recruiting “street paramedics” to become winch crew on helicopters. The model was so successful that it was copied by services in other countries.
    In 2015, he decided to return to flying – a job he really loved, he said. At this stage, the Irish Coast Guard had begun leasing Sikorsky S-92 helicopters, through CHC Ireland, with longer range and a very advanced inpatient care system .
    “The slagging was the worst. The senior crewmen and women in Shannon were only delighted to be able to put me through my paces,” he said of his return, in July 2015.
    Every July for the last 16 years, he travelled to Tramore, Co Waterford, to remember former Air Corps colleagues Capt Dave O’Flaherty (30), Capt Mick Baker (28), Sgt Paddy Mooney (34) and Corporal Niall Byrne (25), who died in a crash on return from the first night mission at the Waterford search and rescue base in July 1999.
    Ó Cearbhalláin was a close colleague of the crew of Rescue 116 – Capt Dara Fitzpatrick (45), Capt Mark Duffy (51) winch crew Paul Ormsby (53) and Ciaran Smith (38) – who died off the north Mayo coast on March 14th this year, just three days after his funeral.
    Passionate about Irish language
    Ó Cearbhalláin was passionate about the Irish language, music and sport and committed to his wife and family. He brought his daughters, Aoife (24 ) and Niamh (21), to every single Harry Potter film when they were young, played music with Conláed (17), trained a junior GAA team involving Tomás (14) and went on walks with Cuan (8), who recently made his First Communion.
    Ó Cearbhalláin’s father, John Carolan, passed away in January. He died peacefully two months later in Milford Hospice, Limerick.
    Daithí Ó Cearbhalláin is survived by his wife Dara, daughters Aoife and Niamh, sons Conláed, Tomás and Cuan, mother Phyllis, brother Paul and sisters Pat and Tina.
    © 2017

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