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Saturday 20 October 2018

'He was a man of the sky' - Tributes paid to father-of-two killed in Mayo plane crash

Michael McCarrick
Michael McCarrick
Independent.ie Newsdesk

A FATHER-OF-TWO who tragically died in a plane crash in Co Mayo has been described as a complete gentleman who loved flying.

The man, named locally as Michael McCarrick, died when his two-seater BRM Land Africa plane came down in a field in Breaffy, outside Ballina, shortly after 6pm on Friday.

Mr McCarrick, who was aged in his 50s and worked as a networks technician for the ESB, had gone for a flight after work on the clear Friday evening.

Locals reported hearing sounds which suggested the plane was in distress before it came down in the field.

Councillor John O’Hara, who worked with Mr McCarrick in the ESB, told The Sunday World that the tragic death has devastated the area.

“He was a complete gentleman. Nothing was too much if you needed any help. It’s heartbreaking. It’s such awful news to come to any house. It’s hard when it comes,” he said.

The plane came down in a field in Breaffy, outside Ballina, shortly after 6pm on Friday. Photo: Google Maps
The plane came down in a field in Breaffy, outside Ballina, shortly after 6pm on Friday. Photo: Google Maps

He said Mr McCarrick was an expert pilot with years of experience.

“He had flying down to a tee. He knew what the plane could do. The plane just came out of the sky and fell down. At the moment no-one knows the reason why. I couldn’t see it being any fault of his own.

“Michael would have been a very experienced pilot and loved parachute jumping. He was a man of the sky. The whole place is shocked by it.

“Michael would be a chap who would have made sure everything was right. He wouldn’t go unless he checked everything was working properly. He’d take no chances. He was a great chap and was thorough in everything he done.”

Mr McCarrick flew out of Lough Conn airfield and was a regular sight in the skies over Mayo.

“He’d be out flying one or two days a week. He did a lot of parachute jumping and raised a lot of money for charity. He was a well-known man at the Salmon Festival in Ballina. He’d jump into the Moy every year,” said O’Hara.

“He’d try out anything. If there was a challenge he’d have a go at it.”

Mr McCarrick was also a big fan of traditional music and played guitar.

Locals told how the aircraft sounded in distress before it came of the sky.

Paramedics and firefighters rushed to the scene following the crash but McCarrick, whowas trapped in the cockpit following the crash, was declared dead at the scene.

The scene of the crash, off the Ballina to Bonniconlon road, was sealed off yesterday as investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Unit carried out examinations.

Mr McCarrick is survived by his wife Bríd, his son Finn and daughter Aoife.

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