Sunday 24 September 2017

Irish hotel boss recovering after US plane crash

Al Ryan plane crash
Al Ryan plane crash
One of the plane crash victims is taken from the scene in St Petersburg, Florida. Photo: Tampa Bay Times
The plane crash in Florida in which four Irish people survived.
Plane crash survived by four Irish people in Florida
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The Dublin hotelier who was seriously injured in a plane crash in Florida last week is now out of hospital and recovering from his ordeal.

Al Ryan (52) was rushed to hospital when the Piper Cherokee light aircraft he was a passenger in crash-landed in a public park after narrowly missing an apartment block on Tuesday of last week.

The plane is believed to have suffered engine trouble and quick-thinking pilot Grant Jordan was hailed a hero after managing to deftly guide the small plane to the ground.

However, the four on board all received injuries when the plane clipped a tree in the park and crash landed.

Mr Ryan, who lives in Howth and is a director of the Grand Hotel in Malahide and the Marine Hotel in Sutton, was seriously injured but is now recovering well. Friends in Malahide said he is now out of hospital and recovering from "broken bones and bruises".

Mr Jordan (57), from Northern Ireland, also suffered serious injuries in the crash which took place in the town of St Petersburg.

Also on board, and able to walk from the wreckage, were Eamonn Marnell (58) from Crawfordsburn near Bangor, Co Down, and an unnamed 17-year-old girl, understood to be from the North also.

They were all members of the Newtownards-based Ulster Flying Club.

The group were flying to Key West in the hired plane when the accident happened.

Chairman of the Ulster Flying Club John Hughes has been in contact with all four who were on board the plane.

"Mr Jordan did an excellent job but on the last part of the approach into the field, from the witness statements that I have heard, the aircraft clipped a couple of trees which upset his final attempt to get into the park, but he still got in," he said.

"The aircraft was substantially in one piece. If they hadn't had the competence to land then things could have turned out worse," he added.

St Petersburg police officer Mike Puetz said it probably took a lot of skill on the pilot's part to get the plane down mainly in one piece even though it lost a wing and was damaged.

cfeehan@herald.ie

Irish Independent

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