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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Aircraft in three new accidents since Cork disaster

Pat Flynn and  Nick Bramhill

THREE aircraft identical to the plane which crashed at Cork Airport, killing six people, have been involved in separate accidents since the tragedy last month.

The families of victims of the tragedy expect the initial report into the causes of the crash to be "difficult reading" when they receive it tomorrow.

The Swearingen SA227 Metroliner crashed and caught fire while making a third attempt to land in thick fog at Cork Airport on February 10.

Six people, including the two crew members, died and six others survived the crash.

Jurgen Whyte, chief inspector with the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), has confirmed he will make the report available to families ahead of general publication on Wednesday.

The family of survivor Heather Elliott (53) from Belfast, said the report would make difficult reading, as she is still too shaken to speak about her memories of the flight.

"Heather's making a steady recovery, but she still doesn't like to talk about what happened," her mother Roma Peare (84) said.

Although the report will outline the basic facts about the February 10 disaster, it is understood that investigators have as yet found no problem with the aeroplane that would explain the tragedy.


The next phase of the investigation is expected to focus on the decision of pilot Jordi Lopez to attempt a third landing in thick fog and whether the fog contributed to the crash.

It could be at least a year before the exact cause of the tragedy is established.

A special ecumenical service will be held in Cork next Sunday in memory of the six who died.

Manx2, the airline which operated the Belfast to Cork flight, has since removed the route from its timetable.

It has emerged that three other Swearingen SA227 Metroliners have since been involved in incidents in Norway, the United States and Bolivia. No one was injured in any of the accidents.

The latest crash occurred last Thursday at Boeing Airfield in Seattle near Washington. The flight veered to the left off the runway after touching down but the pilot, who was alone onboard, escaped injury. No one was injured in the two other incidents in Bolivia and Oslo.

Around 187 people have died in 31 fatal accidents (including the Cork tragedy) involving Swearingen Metroliner aircraft since the plane first entered service in 1969.

Irish Independent

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