Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Pilot 'fine' after crash landing in sea

The plane that ditched into the sea near Tuskar Rock on Tuesday lost engine power minutes before the dramatic crash landing, it emerged yesterday.

Rosslare RNLI lifeboat towing the wreckage of the light aircraft to shore. The pilot escaped uninjured

The dramatic scene of John O’Shaughnessy being winched to safety

And the pilot at the centre of the sea rescue insisted last night he was “absolutely fine” after his ordeal.

John O’Shaughnessy, who is originally from Clare but has been living in Foulksmills, Co Wexford, for the past year, was unhurt after his light aircraft ditched into the sea off the Wexford coast at about 5pm on Tuesday.

Speaking last night, the pilot said that, despite his close shave, he was not suffering any ill effects. “These things happen and you just get on with your life,” he said. “I'm absolutely OK.”

Mr O’Shaughnessy has been interviewed by air accident investigators.

It emerged yesterday that his single-engine Avid Speedwing two-seater had suffered a power loss minutes before the crash-landing. He was wearing a survival suit and lifejacket when the Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford winched him to safety.

“He did a good job to get the aircraft onto the water intact, which helps your chances of survival,” an air accident investigator said yesterday. “If you have no power, you’ve nowhere to go. I’m sure he didn’t want to end up in the water.”

The wreckage was towed to shore by the Rosslare lifeboat on Tuesday night. An examination was carried out by Air Accident Investigation inspectors on site, before it was taken to its Gormanstown headquarters.

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