THE head of the airline at the centre of the Cork Airport crash tragedy fought back the tears yesterday as he visited the scene of Thursday's plane disaster in which six people were killed.
Manx2 chairman Noel Hayes also insisted the flight crew -- both of whom were killed -- were fully qualified and experienced.
Pilot Jordi Lopez (31) and co-pilot Andrew Cantle (27) died along with four passengers when the Fairchild Metroliner en route from Belfast to Cork crashed while attempting to land in thick fog.
After signing a book of condolences at the airport, Mr Hayes vowed the carrier will do everything possible to assist the various inquiries ongoing.
"The last 24 hours have been a very long and dark 24 hours for me but I know that they are a longer and darker 24 hours for the families of the bereaved.
"My heart goes out to them and I offer them my sincere condolences for the tragic accident," he said.
"My best wishes also go to the injured who are now in the hospital here and I am going to see them with the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland (Martin McGuinness) who has come down.
"My other purpose here is to personally thank the emergency services at Cork Airport who did a fantastic job yesterday and today.
"It is a job they are trained very well to do, but they did a fantastic job.
"I know they helped stop the tragedy being even worse. My thanks to them for their swift and very prompt action they took yesterday."
The airport's fire crews had reached the crash site and extinguished the fire on the 19-year old plane within four minutes of the accident occurring.
Mr Hayes said the probe to discover what caused the crash was already making progress.
"My other task here is to work with the Air Accident Investigation Unit who are currently investigating what happened here yesterday.
"My team have been down here since yesterday morning and they have been involved in the discussions with them.
"I have got a meeting later with them and obviously we are giving them our fullest co-operation.
"The black box from the aircraft and the voice recorder have (both) been located intact so we hope that a lot of the information will be made available to them very quickly to enable them to find out exactly what happened and what the cause was of yesterday's tragic accident."