Family pays tribute to tragic crash pilot 'who lived life to the fullest'
The heartbroken family of an Irish pilot who died in a plane crash in Hawaii have described him as "ambitious" and "full of life".
Damien Horan (30), from Tullamore, Co Offaly, tragically lost his life when the single engine light aircraft he was flying crashed on Monday.
His family last night paid tribute to a loving son and caring brother, telling the Irish Independent: "Although Damien's life ended so soon, he lived life to the fullest."
It is understood Damien was flying a group of skydivers in Hawaii when difficulties arose shortly after take-off.
Four of those on board were killed at the scene, while a fifth person later died in hospital.
According to eyewitnesses in the area, the Cessna 182H plane had just lifted off the runway when the engine failed.
His devastated parents Teresa and Dermot Horan, sisters Ciara and Briana, and future brother-in-law Bobby Winder last night paid tributes to the young pilot. The Horan family said Damien "cared so deeply" for his siblings and friends and was "very close" to his family.
"From the young age of five, his dream was to become a pilot," his sister Ciara said on the behalf of the Horan family.
"He never strayed from his dream. During Damien's Leaving Certificate year, his classmates were asked where they saw themselves in 10 years, to which his reply was 'to travel the world and be a pilot'."
The Offaly man pursued his interest in aviation and graduated from the University of Limerick with a degree in aeronautical engineering.
Within 10 years, Damien obtained both his private and commercial licences.
He travelled extensively around the world - including the US, Asia, Dubai and Australia.
His love of Australia kept him there for six years where he worked with a local farmer in Tammin, Western Australia.
"Damien had a wonderful work ethic which was instilled by his father and he worked in the family business from an early age. Although Damien's life ended so soon, he lived life to the fullest."
His parents said they "couldn't be prouder" of their son for "following his dreams, reaching his goals and for the loving young man that he became".
The family added: "Damien was ambitious, determined and full of life".
The family last night said the funeral arrangements are still being made.