"I could see plane flying towards my house"

The accident occurred shortly before 10.30pm as many in the Askeaton area were relaxing in front of The Late Late Show. Suddenly hearing what sounded like thunder claps, scores of people in the area rushed to their windows to see a large plane in flames and appearing to fly perilously close to the treetops.

One woman explained on Joe Duffy?s Liveline show how she was smoking a cigarette in her back garden when she heard a series of loud noises. It sounded like thunder or something banging off a galvanised roof and I could see this plane coming towards my house and nearly hitting off the trees,? she said. Rushing into her home she grabbed the children and alerted her partner to get out of the house. Outside, she watched as the danger abated ? ?it was like something out of the War of the Worlds,? she added.

The plane ? a DC8 owned by Murray Air and equipped for cargo (its passenger equivalent would seat 175) ? suffered an engine compression problem shortly into its ascent out of Shannon Airport on Friday night. For a brief period one of its engines failed to take in air and this resulted in an eruption of flame from that engine. An emergency was declared and the plane was immediately turned around and flown back to Shannon on reduced power.

It landed safely at roughly 10.25pm as Shannon ground staff attended with all emergency procedures in place.

Controversy was sparked on the

Joe Duffy show, with a number of callers suggesting the plane could have been carrying explosives or other hazardous materials to the US military in the


A spokesperson for Murray Air, Tracey Bell, told Liveline listeners, however, that the plane had not been carrying any explosives or armaments. She confirmed, however, that Murray Air were fully licensed by the Irish authorities to carry hazardous materials ? including depleted uranium. She did not say, however, if the company had ever flown such materials through Irish airspace.

The DC8 is thought to have just completed a flight from Newfoundland when it touched down in Shannon on Friday night. There, ­it refuelled and took off before the disaster struck. It?s still here, waiting for parts to arrive from America,? the DAA Shannon spokesperson told The Kerryman.