Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Cork plane crash horror: Six killed, six injured as Belfast flight crashes on airport runway

Scene of the crash this morning at Cork Airport in which six people are believed to have died

A plane travelling from Belfast has crashed at Cork Airport in the Irish Republic killing six people. Six others are injured

The turbo prop aircraft travelling from George Best Belfast City Airport crash landed on a runway on the third attempt to land.

A Cork County council statement said six people had died and six were injured.

The Republic's Health Service Executive (HSE) said four of the injured were in a serious condition and the other two injured were described as comfortable.

The Manx2.com commuter flight NM7100 was en route from Belfast when it crashed in heavy fog just before 10am on runway 17. The plane was a 19-seat Fairchild Metroliner.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said the aircraft made two attempts to land before crashing.

"It had been trying to land in foggy conditions. This was its third attempt to land," an IAA spokeswoman said.

An IAA statement said: "The aircraft made an approach to Runway 17 in low vis conditions and went around and did not land and attempted a second landing on Runway 35.

"The aircraft then went around a second time and came back for an approach to Runway 17.

"On the second approach to Runway 17 the aircraft crashed, Rescue and Fire crew are in attendance.

"There is a fire and debris has been scattered onto the runway and over a wide area."

Witnesses report hearing a loud bang. The aircraft is said to have burst into flames.

Debris has been scattered onto the runway and over a wide area.

Fire crews and police from across the county were drafted in to support the rescue efforts. The main road to the airport was closed to give emergency services quick access.

Gardai are appealing to people to stay away from the airport and for motorists to avoid the area.

A Cork Airport spokesman said: "There has been a crash, a Manx 2 airline, commuter plane. The emergency services are on the scene."

The plane was operating a service from George Best Belfast City Airport to Cork.

A spokesman for George Best Belfast City Airport said: "We can confirm that the Manx 2 aircraft was scheduled to leave Belfast City Airport en route to Cork, flight number NM 7100.

"It left at 0812 this morning with 10 passengers and two crew on board. We understand there has been an incident at Cork airport involving this aircraft."

Chief executive of Belfast City Airport Brian Ambrose said the passenger details from the ill-fated flight had been passed to police.

Mr Ambrose said the airport had been contacted by a number of people who were concerned for friends or relatives.

He added: "At the minute we have to emphasise that this is a tragic set of circumstances. A number of people have lost their lives and the families who have been affected are our priority."

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness spoke of their shock over the crash.

Mr Robinson said: "This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with the families of the bereaved.

"My thoughts are also with the injured and I hope that they will make a full and speedy recovery."

The deputy First Minister said: "I am shocked at this news and want to convey my condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in the plane crash.

"My thoughts are also with those who have been injured."

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Paterson said: "This is a terrible tragedy.

"I offer my profound condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of those killed and injured.

"I have spoken to our Ambassador in Dublin who is on his way to Cork and who will be working closely with the Irish authorities."

East Belfast MP Naomi Long, whose constituency includes the City Airport where the flight took off, said: "It is a very dark day for both Belfast and Cork.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have been killed or injured, and I know that the whole community will be thinking of them at this difficult time, and would join with me in wishing those who have survived a full recovery."

Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott said: "Like everyone else in Northern Ireland I was shocked to learn that a Belfast to Cork commuter flight crashed this morning, resulting in a number of fatalities and injuries. This is a terrible tragedy."

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds raised the tragic events at Cork Airport in the House of Commons where he asked Westminster representatives to join him in passing on their thoughts to those involved in the tragedy.

Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley arrived at the airport to offer support to relatives of the dead and injured.

"I came up here immediately. I understand that there are some relatives here so I'm hoping to meet them later on after this very sad event," the cleric said.

"All we can offer is our support, our help and our prayers at this time."

Irish political parties in the midst of a general election campaign cancelled and scaled back events and offered condolences.

Enda Kenny, leader of the Republic's main opposition party Fine Gael, held a minute's silence at a press conference.

"I would like to offer my deepest condolences to those affected by the tragic accident today in Cork Airport," Mr Kenny said.

"My prayers are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives today, and anyone who has been injured."

Irish president Mary McAleese expressed her deep shock and sadness.

A spokeswoman said: "The President said her thoughts and prayers, and those of all the people of Ireland, are with the families of the deceased and the survivors at this very difficult time."

Background

Manx2.com was founded in the Isle of Man and carries 100,000 passengers a year.

It announced last September that it was expanding its presence in Northern Ireland, choosing George Best Belfast City Airport as its first permanent base outside the Isle of Man and launching the twice-daily service from Belfast to Cork.

The flight takes an hour and 10 minutes on a Metroliner regional commuter aircraft which, according to Belfast City Airport, provides a quality of service akin to the private charter experience.

The last flight from Cork landed in Belfast last night was the plane that crashed in Cork this morning.

Belfast Telegraph financial controller Simon Snoddy, who was on the flight last night, said: “It is a very small aircraft and you have to bend your head to walk from one end to the other. Coming into Belfast last night the pilot told us that the landing would be rough, the plane was buffeted about very badly and it came in virtually sideways into Belfast, it was a very frightening experience.”

Helpline numbers

Manx2.com has set up a special helpline on Belfast 028 90427004. A casualty information bureau has been set up at the airport with staff operating a helpline on +353 (0) 21 4328 820. The British Embassy in Dublin has also opened a helpline on +353 1 205 3780.

Websites

George Best Belfast City Airport

Irish Aviation Authority

Manx2.com

Are you at Cork Airport? Let us know in the comments section below or get in touch via email. Send pictures and video to digital.editorial@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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