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Four people injured after light aircraft crash lands on beach in Co Wexford

Rescue operation was launched after plane got into difficulties

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23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

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23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

TRIBUTES have been paid to the incredible skill of a pilot who managed to crash-land a twin engined light aircraft on a Wexford beach after apparently encountering mechanical difficulties over the Irish Sea.

Rescue officials admitted that, had the pilot not successfully landed the plane on the beach at Carne Strand, just a two metres from the water line, and the plane had instead gone down into the sea, the outcome could have proved tragic.

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23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

Incredibly, the pilot had to decide on a crash landing in just seconds when he was at a height of just 80 metres (250 feet) as the light aircraft suffered what is believed to have been a major engine failure while doing a low-level survey flypast.

The light aircraft containing four people crash-landed on the strand south of Rosslare after it got into difficulty off Carnsore Point shortly after 5pm on Thursday evening.

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Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

It came to a halt on the beach, just inshore of Lady's Island, less than two metres from the sea with the tide partly out.

Initial indications are that all four passengers were successfully able to get out of the aircraft themselves.

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23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

23/09/2021. The scene of a Light Plane Crash, Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. Picture: Mary Browne

A major response operation was immediately launched including all emergency services.

It is understood the alarm was raised by a person out walking who realised the aircraft was in difficulty.

The aircraft is believed to have included the pilot and three passengers.

Those on board were two men, aged in their 30s and 50s, and two women in their 20s and 30s.

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None are believed to be from the Wexford area.

A number of those on board were removed to Wexford General Hospital and University Hospital Waterford by both Health Service Executive (HSE) ambulances and the Waterford and Dublin-based Coast Guard helicopters.

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Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

The Waterford-based helicopter was under the command of Coast Guard SAR pilot Barry O'Connor.

The pilot is believed to have suffered two broken legs, while his co-pilot, a female, also suffered a broken leg. The two people at the rear of the plane are believed to have relatively minor injuries.

However, one Wexford-based rescue official said none of the injuries involved are life threatening.

The rescue was supported by Gardaí, Wexford Coast Guard units, RNLI and HSE paramedics.

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Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

Photo: Wexford People

The aircraft involved is described as a twin-engined light plane.

Initial indications are that the plane may have encountered sudden mechanical difficulties while flying off the Wexford coast.

The pilot realised he would not be able to reach Waterford Airport or even an emergency landing site on a field just inshore.

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Light aircraft crash lands on beach in Co Wexford. Photo credit: James Cook

Light aircraft crash lands on beach in Co Wexford. Photo credit: James Cook

Light aircraft crash lands on beach in Co Wexford. Photo credit: James Cook

One emergency services source said that the pilot showed incredible skill in managing to crash the plane on the strand and avoid having to ditch in the sea.

They said that, had the plane crash-landed in the sea, it would have been a vastly more challenging rescue operation with a very uncertain outcome.

It came to rest with its nose buried in the sand and less than two metres from the water line.

Weather conditions are understood to have been good at the time with light winds and excellent visibility.

Locals paid tribute to the emergency services who were at the scene within minutes of the alarm being raised.

Independent Councillor Ger Carthy, who lives in nearby Our Lady's Island, attended the scene in his role as Ambulance Officer for Wexford.

"This was a fantastically well coordinated multi agency operation," Cllr Carthy said.

"The National Ambulance Service, the Coast Guard helicopters, local Coast Guard units, the gardaí and the fire service all cooperated extremely well for an extremely quick response. We wish the casualties a speedy recovery."

As is routine in such cases, an investigation team from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) travelled to the scene in Wexford.

A report on the incident will now be prepared.

Members of the public have been urged to stay away from the area where the plane crash landed.


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