Tuesday 12 December 2017

Slazenger heir loses his battle for life after plane crash

Grainne Cunningham

THE family of a retired anaesthetist who died after a plane crash have thanked those who have supported them since the tragic accident.

Dr Michael Slazenger, whose family is heir to the famous sportswear brand, died early yesterday morning of injuries sustained in the crash.

He was the second person to die as a result of the crash -- his passenger and friend Noel Whitney, a 66-year-old businessman, was pronounced dead at the scene.

General manager of Powerscourt Golf Club Bernard Gibbons confirmed that Dr Slazenger died in St James's Hospital, Dublin, with his family by his bedside.

A statement issued on behalf of Powerscourt Estates, the company Dr Slazenger was chairman and chief executive of, said that he and Mr Whitney had taken a leisure flight together on Saturday afternoon.


It is understood the single- engine Falco plane was coming in to land for the second time when the right wing clipped a bush outside the runway, flipped over and nose-dived into a nearby field.

Although the craft exploded on impact, Dr Slazenger was conscious when emergency services arrived. However, he had sustained serious burns and was in a critical condition.

Members of the Powerscourt Golf Club -- of which the 69-year-old had been president since it opened in 1996 -- witnessed the accident.

Shocked golfers on the large estate in Enniskerry rushed to help the men after watching the plane burst into flames at the end of the airstrip.

Leo Murray of the Air Accident Investigation Unit is heading up the investigation into the plane crash. He said it was interviewing witnesses and a preliminary report would be published within a month.

"We're concentrating on working on the wreckage at the minute and interviewing witnesses to the accident," Mr Murray said.

"We're going to be doing a closer technical examination on the wreckage at our facility in Gormanstown this week."

Dr Slazenger had retired as a consultant anaesthetist from St Michael's Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, in 2005 but continued to manage Powerscourt Estates.

The statement issued by Powerscourt Estates thanked those who had supported the family since the tragedy and described Dr Slazenger as "a devoted family man, a keen golfer and skier and for many years an aviation enthusiast".

It continued: "The thoughts of the Slazenger family and all at Powerscourt are with those of Dr Slazenger's friend, Mr Whitney, during these tragic and difficult times." Yesterday, the Whitney family appealed for privacy.

Dr Slazenger is survived by his wife Noreen, three daughters, Marianne, Sarah and Elizabeth, and by his brothers John and Peter and sisters Wendy and Joanna.

Dr Slazenger's funeral will take place on Thursday at St Patrick's Church in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. The service will be open to the public, but the burial will be held in private.

Irish Independent

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