A major search was initiated last Thursday in County Fermanagh following reports of a light aircraft crash in the area between Enniskillen and Belcoo. Members of the Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team were scrambled following a request for assistance from the local Northwest team in what developed into a major regional search operation involving three Mountain Rescue Teams, Sligo Coast Guard and PSNI helicopters and local farmers.

The Northwest Team was tasked by the PSNI following a number of sightings of a plane in distress allied to reports of a loud crashing sound.

“At this stage visibility was practically nil due to the severe rain showers affecting the region. The Police in Fermanagh requested the deployment of a large number of personnel to conduct a search of a very extensive area and we responded to this along with our colleagues in the Donegal Team. Nine team members immediately made themselves available to assist in this operation with a second group ready to travel later in the afternoon,” said Alan Sayers of the Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescure Team.

Two of the Leitrim based members were first to arrive at the Incident Centre in Derrygonnelly where they were immediately tasked with searching a remote upland and wooded area.

“Thankfully visibility improved later in the afternoon allowing police helicopters to scan the search area whilst up to forty mountain rescue member combed the hills and forests surrounding the area. By late evening we had found no trace of any aircraft whilst aviation authorities confirmed that they could account for all registered aircraft. Although we are satisfied that this was not a hoax type of incident and some mystery remains as to the origin of the call out the search was discontinued from 1800 hours. “As a team, we were extremely pleased by the quick response time and dedication of our members in the face of what did appear to herald a long and harrowing search operation,” concluded Mr. Sayers.

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