Father-of-three killed in light aircraft crash 'was on way to celebrate daughter's birthday'
A community has been left "stunned" after a man died following a light aircraft crash in Kilkenny.
The accident occurred around 9pm on Friday night at an area known as Rathcash, in Co Kilkenny, around 10km from the city.
It is understood the father of three, who was a well-known and highly respected builder, was close to his home when the aircraft he was piloting crash landed. He was believed to be on his way to his daughter's 18th birthday party.
Gardaí from Thomastown and Kilkenny city along with fire units and several ambulances attended the scene of the incident.
Locals also rushed to the site to help the injured man.
Local Fianna Fáil councillor Pat Fitzpatrick said the area is "stunned" by the tragedy.
"The area is shocked, stunned, at this tragedy. He was very highly regarded," Cllr Fitzpatrick told Independent.ie.
"The community is saddened at this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
"We plead for privacy for the family at this time, while they mourn their husband and father."
Local Labour councillor Denis Hynes, lives about five miles from the gentleman's home.
He said; "I knew the family and and would have known people who knew him. He was a popular man. He spent time in England.
"It's just awful, for his wife and three children. His daughter was celebrating her 18th birthday and he was coming in to land, I believe.
"On the behalf of this community I want to extend our deepest condolences to his family, it's deeply regretting."
Cllr Hynes said the family man was a great stone mason and was "very talented", which was part of the reason why he was so well-known in the community.
The builder was also fond of his light aircraft.
"You'd often see him on Saturdays up on his micro-light plane," Cllr Hynes added.
The Air Accident Investigations Unit (AAIU) were advised by gardaí of the incident and sent a team to the crash site.
The AAIU experts will conduct an initial examination of the aircraft and the area where the crash happened.
Gardaí are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact them on 056 7775000.