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Sunday 21 October 2018

Plane seen flying 'sideways' before fatal crash that killed pilot and boy (7)

Kacper Kacprzak
Kacper Kacprzak

Eoghan MacConnell

A witness told air accident investigators a plane which crashed killing a young boy and pilot was flying "sideways" before it landed in a Co Offaly bog last month.

English pilot Neil Bowditch (47) and seven-year-old Kacper Kacprzak, who lived in Dublin, died in the crash shortly after skydivers had jumped from the Cessna Grand Caravan plane on Sunday, May 13.

A preliminary report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) said the aircraft was fitted with an aircraft data acquisition system which indicated "that the engine was providing power to the propeller until the end of the data recording".

Investigators revealed the crash was recorded on CCTV footage from a nearby windfarm and from cameras worn by some of the 16 parachutists who jumped shortly before the crash. It was also witnessed by a number of people on the ground.

One witness who was 750 metres from the crash site described the plane flying "sideways" and said it was "low down" prior to the crash.

Another witness told investigators he heard the sound of an aircraft engine, "looked up and saw the aircraft coming straight down, nose first, before it disappeared below a line of trees, located to the north-west".

This was followed by what the witness described as a thump.

CCTV footage from a nearby wind farm has also been examined. The images cameras show the aircraft in flight "before it assumed a steep, nose-down attitude and descended below a line of trees as it approached the ground," the report notes.

The AAIU has not reached any conclusions or made any recommendations and the investigation is ongoing.

Irish Independent

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