Tuesday 28 March 2017

Air crash legal cases still await final report on tragedy

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

CIVIL claims over the plane crash in which six people died will be fast-tracked once a key investigation report into the cause of the tragedy is released.

The Irish Independent understands that, to date, no structural, mechanical or systems problem has been discovered with the plane, a 19-year old US-built Fairchild Metroliner.

However, there are now mounting concerns amongst the families of victims of the Cork Airport crash that the claims could involve litigation in three jurisdictions -- Ireland, the UK and Spain.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Department of Transport (AAIU) is continuing an exhaustive investigation into last February's tragedy involving the Manx2.com service from Belfast to Cork.

The final report is expected to be ready by March and all civil claims by those who were injured and the families of the dead have been put on hold until then.

The probe has focused on weather conditions at Cork Airport and why the flight crew attempted a third landing after having aborted two previous landing efforts due to fog.

Responsibility

A preliminary report found no fault with the plane -- but confirmed that the aircraft's wing struck the runway before the plane flipped over on to its back and disintegrated.

Manx2.com declined to comment on the matter until the full accident report is released. The airline has stressed that the service was operated by the Spanish-based firm, Flightline BCN, from whom Manx2.com chartered the aircraft and crew.

Manx.com said that "in the interest of legal clarity around the issue of liability and insurance . . .the Belfast-Cork service was operated by Flightline BCN."

However, solicitors for those injured and killed in the crash have previously claimed efforts have been made to shift legal responsibility for the tragedy.

Stewarts Law, a London-based legal firm acting for survivor Mark Dickens (40), said Manx.com was clearly trying to place legal responsibility on the aircraft's owners.

Investigators are still trying to clarify precisely why the crew opted not to divert to Shannon or Waterford airports.

Both the plane's engines appear to have been operating normally in the minutes before the impact and Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Cork Airport was not informed of any major difficulty with the plane's operational status or fuel.

Irish Independent

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