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Thursday 21 August 2014

Air cadet death tribunal criticised

Published 04/03/2013 | 19:06

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Captain Derek Furniss, left, and Cadet David Jevens, who died in an air crash in Connemara's Crumlin Valley (Billy Doyle/Defence Forces/PA)

The family of an air cadet who died in a training exercise have criticised a military tribunal into the mountain crash.

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Donal Jevens accused Defence Forces investigators of ignoring findings of other inquiries into his son David's death.

The 22-year-old cadet, from Glynn, Co Wexford, was killed along with his flight instructor Captain Derek Furniss, 32, when their two-seater aircraft went down in Connemara's remote Crumlin Valley in October 2009.

Accident investigators found the instructor suffered an illusion, making him believe the small craft was climbing steeply away from a mountain ahead - when it was actually starting to nose-dive into it. The Jevens family say they want to set the record straight.

"The Court of Inquiry report contains information that we believe is damaging to our son - that is totally false," Mr Jevens said.

The family has written to Defence Minister Alan Shatter calling for the Court of Inquiry into his son's death to be reopened.

"There is evidence from one particular witness who was brought in from a technical point of view to discuss the last five or six minutes before the plane went down," Mr Jevens said.

"He said our son willingly flew into Crumlin Valley, but his final words were recorded and that is not the case. David's last words were there. And we know he made strenuous attempts not to."

Mr Jevens said the inquiry had turned the events - as recorded in the inquest into both deaths and an Air Accident Investigation Unit report - into "something completely different".

The inquest was told Cadet Jevens wished to bypass the mountains near Cornamona because of bad weather.

Press Association

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