Tuesday 25 April 2017

Man killed after light aircraft crashes into field

Incident happened in Knocknagranagh, Dungarvan close to the N25

The N25 in the Knocknagranagh, Dungarvan area, close to where the incident occurred (Photo: Google Maps)
The N25 in the Knocknagranagh, Dungarvan area, close to where the incident occurred (Photo: Google Maps)

Conor Kane

Investigations have been launched after a man was killed when the light aircraft he was piloting crashed into a field in Co Waterford.

It’s understood that the man was the only occupant of the craft, was a member of a local flying club and had left Waterford Airport on Monday afternoon with the intention of flying to Dungarvan and back.

However, he issued a mayday call just before 4.30pm and attempted to land in a field but crashed instead, on land close to the well-known Bridgie Terrie’s pub and restaurant.

The Coast Guard R117 search and rescue helicopter crew picked up the man's 'mayday' message while they were flying on a training mission in the region and proceeded directly to the location of the crash.

The incident happened near the N25, in the Knocknagranagh area outside Dungarvan and is not far from the scene of another fatal light aircraft collision which claimed the life of a veteran pilot in 2015.

Emergency services were quickly at the scene after the alert was raised yesterday afternoon, including the Coast Guard helicopter which was in the air at the time.

The helicopter arrived at the crash site, which is also close to Dungarvan Golf Club, within minutes but it’s understood the man, believed to be elderly, was fatally injured and could not be resuscitated by that time.

Gardaí said it appeared the man was killed instantly when the aircraft hit the ground.

The nearby road was closed to traffic while fire engines, ambulances and gardaí attended the scene and diversions were put in place for several hours.

Members of the Air Accident Investigation Unit were deployed from Dublin to the scene and were expected to record details of the crash site and aircraft wreckage last night (Monday).

“The likelihood is that we will recover the aircraft wreckage over the next day and hopefully we can recover the wreckage back to our facility,” AAIU chief investigator Jurgen White said. Mr White is still at the scene of the fatal R116 crash at Blacksod Bay in Co Mayo.

A woman in Bridgie Terrie’s pub said the crash happened “just across the fields from us” but local people only became aware of its seriousness later in the evening. “It’s very sad.”

The location is close to the area where well-known and experienced pilot Howard Cox (67) was killed in July of 2015 when on his way from Waterford Airport to an air show in Foynes.

Mr Cox died when his home-built “James Bond” BD5 mini-jet went on fire and crashed north of Dungarvan, in the Garranbarane townland.

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