Sunday 24 September 2017

Families of Air Corps pilots weep at inquest into crash

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

THE chief investigator into a crash that killed two Air Corps pilots has rejected suggestions that the trainee tried to take control seconds before impact.

Experienced pilot Captain Derek Furniss was in control of the aircraft when it crashed at Cornamona, Co Galway, on October 12, 2009, an inquest in Galway heard yesterday.

Paddy Judge, of the Department of Transport's Air Investigation Unit, was giving evidence at the city hall. He said the most likely cause of the accident was "somatic graphic illusion" -- which is akin to an hallucination or a distorted perception.

The court heard that prior to the crash Capt Furniss had taken control of the plane and was manoeuvring it to a safe height when it suddenly changed direction and crashed into the ground.

Fog

Captain Furniss (32), from Rathfarnham in Dublin, and Cadet Jevens (22), from Glynn in Co Wexford, were the only people on board.

The inquest also heard from local man Joe Walsh that the fog on the day was among the worst he had seen for 40 years.

Another local man, John Kenny, gave evidence that he rushed to the crash site but found the plane in pieces. He added: "We saw one body. There was nothing we could do."

Pathologist Mary Casey told the court that both men suffered horrific injuries and died as a result of multiple fatal blunt-force injuries.

Mr Furniss's parents were accompanied to court by their daughters Susan and Jane and his partner Leslie Byrne. The parents of Mr Jevens also attended the hearing. Both families wept as details of the autopsy reports were read out.

The inquest continues today.

Irish Independent

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