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Saturday 19 April 2014

Manx crash: 'Please don't blame my son for this tragedy'

Jordi Sola Lopez
Jordi Sola Lopez

THE father of the Manx2 pilot who died in the Cork Airport accident has pleaded with people not to blame his son for the tragedy.

Jordi Sola Lopez (31) died alongside his co-pilot when their US-built turboprop crashed during a third attempted landing at the airport in heavy fog on February 10, 2011.

The plea by his heartbroken father Antonia Sola came as a survivor of the accident, Donal Walsh from Waterford, said it was important both those who were injured and killed were remembered in people's prayers.

"I try to remember how fortunate I was every single day of my life. I also try to remember those who were not so fortunate and who lost their lives. I remember them and their loved ones in my prayers. I think that is very important," he told the Irish Independent.

The young student, who is now based in Dublin, said it was also vital that all the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) safety recommendations were implemented.

Mr Walsh said he had "great sympathy" for the families of the air crew and stressed that he did not bear any grudge.

"I feel like I was spared and that is my overwhelming feeling. That and sympathy for all those who lost loved ones that day.

HEROISM

"But I am glad that the report dealt with the heroism of the Cork Airport emergency services. They were absolutely incredible that day."

Meanwhile, Mr Sola said there was not a single day that he and his wife, Rosa, did not think of their beloved son.

"After the crash, a pilot friend of Jordi's told us he should have been flying with more experienced colleagues, that he was not experienced enough to be in charge of the plane," he said.

"Although he had many, many hours of flying experience, he was young for a captain. Jordi would never knowingly have taken risks."

The Sola family have received a copy of the AAIU report but haven't been able to go through it in detail until they get a Spanish translation.

Another survivor, father-of-three Mark Dickens from Kent in the UK, admitted he still felt "very lucky to be alive".

Larne businessman Laurence Wilson said he felt he owed his life to the skill and courage of Cork Airport rescue services.

Irish Independent

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