Tuesday 22 May 2018

'People will do everything they can to help' - tributes to schoolboy (7) who died with pilot in plane tragedy

  • Tributes paid to Kacper Kacprzak (7) killed in plane crash
  • 'All I can do is offer my sincerest condolences' - neighbour
  • Plane crashed after nose-diving into bog after parachute event
  • May take investigators several weeks to determine circumstances surrounding tragic incident
One of the victims has been named locally as Kacper Kacprzak, a pupil at Sacred Heart of Jesus NS in Blanchardstown, Dublin.
One of the victims has been named locally as Kacper Kacprzak, a pupil at Sacred Heart of Jesus NS in Blanchardstown, Dublin.
The shattered wreckage of the parachute club plane after it crashed in bogland near Mount Lucas, Co Offaly. Photo: Caroline Quinn
The site where the wreckage of the crashed aeroplane was extracted from dense forest in Co Offaly. Photo: Colin Keegan
The site where the wreckage was found this morning of the aircraft which crashed in dense forest on the outskirts of Clonbuloge, Co. Offaly yesterday killing the pitot and a seven year old boy..Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
General view of Air Accident Investigation Unit at scene of plane crash in bogland near Mount Lucas, Co. Offaly. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of Air Accident Investigation Unit at scene of plane crash in bogland near Mount Lucas, Co. Offaly. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of Gardai at scene of plane crash in bogland near Mount Lucas, Co. Offaly. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of Air Accident Investigation Unit at scene of plane crash in bogland near Mount Lucas, Co. Offaly. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Ian Begley, Conor Feehan and Robin Schiller

Tributes have been paid to the seven-year-old boy who died in a plane crash, along with the pilot, in Co Offaly.

The boy has been named locally as Kacper Kacprzak, a pupil at Sacred Heart of Jesus NS in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

He was killed alongside pilot Niall Bowditch, from the UK, when their plane nose-dived into a forest near Clonbullogue at about 2.30pm on Sunday.

Kacper's father Kris is a regular parachutist and instructor with the Irish Parachute Club, and he jumped from the plane shortly before it "torpedoed" to the ground. The family is Polish and lives in the Huntstown area of Dublin 15.

One of the victims has been named locally as Kacper Kacprzak, a pupil at Sacred Heart of Jesus NS in Blanchardstown, Dublin.
One of the victims has been named locally as Kacper Kacprzak, a pupil at Sacred Heart of Jesus NS in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

The bodies of Kacper and Mr Bowditch were recovered from the wreckage in an isolated bogland just before darkness fell at about 10pm on Sunday.

It is understood that the family of Mr Bowditch was due to travel from the UK to formally identify the body.

The tragic news of the death of Kacper came to his primary school yesterday, with staff too grief-stricken to speak. Local residents expressed their disbelief that such a young child from their community was killed.

"I just can't believe it," said Huntstown mother Caroline Anderson. "As a mother myself, I can only imagine what this poor boy's parents are going through. All I can do is offer my sincerest condolences. I've no doubt the people living in this estate will do everything they can to help this family cope."

A Polish woman living in Huntstown Wood was brought to tears upon hearing the news.

"To hear in detail what happened to everyone involved is extremely upsetting," she said.

The site where the wreckage was found this morning of the aircraft which crashed in dense forest on the outskirts of Clonbuloge, Co. Offaly yesterday killing the pitot and a seven year old boy..Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
The site where the wreckage was found this morning of the aircraft which crashed in dense forest on the outskirts of Clonbuloge, Co. Offaly yesterday killing the pitot and a seven year old boy..Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Another neighbour said she was sure many children within the estate have lost a friend: "There are dozens of children always playing outside their homes around here. It's heart-breaking to know that they'll soon find out that they've lost a friend."

Fingal mayor Mary McCamley said: "I'm extremely sorry this family has to experience such a devastating loss, but Huntstown is a very good community to live in and I'm sure they will do whatever they can."

The site where the wreckage of the crashed aeroplane was extracted from dense forest in Co Offaly. Photo: Colin Keegan
The site where the wreckage of the crashed aeroplane was extracted from dense forest in Co Offaly. Photo: Colin Keegan

The aircraft was scheduled to land at Clonbullogue airfield, but lost contact at around 2pm. At this stage, there is nothing to suggest the pilot attempted to contact control or send out a distress signal when the aircraft got into difficulty.

Examination

Investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) were last night continuing to examine the wreckage of the Cessna, which will be brought to the unit's facility in Gormanstown for a thorough technical examination.

Investigators have not yet established if the aeroplane, which was built in 2005, was equipped with a cockpit voice recorder, although a source with knowledge of such aircraft said smaller planes are not usually required to have such devices.

It may take investigators several weeks to determine the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident. "It appears the aircraft crashed into bogland at speed, which made it difficult for emergency services to recover the two fatalities and the wreckage. However, after several hours the two casualties were recovered from the front of the aircraft," a source said.

Irish Independent

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