Crash investigators have closed a private airfield after a retired anaesthetist — whose family founded the Slazenger sports brand — was killed during an aborted landing, it has emerged.
Pilot Dr Michael Slazenger and his companion, Noel Whitney, died when the wing of the light aircraft clipped a tree before it overturned and burst in to flames.
The Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) revealed it called for the private airstrip, on the grounds of Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow, to temporarily suspend all operations until a thorough probe is complete.
Leo Murray, who is heading the investigation, said: “The investigation is examining the suitability of the airfield for the operation of this aircraft type and has concerns regarding the general suitability of this airfield for light aircraft operations.”
The two-seater single-engine Falco aircraft, owned by Dr Slazenger, got into difficulties as it was attempting to land at around 3pm on April 10.
Members of Powerscourt Golf Club — of which the 69-year-old was president since it opened in October 1996 — saw the accident.
In his preliminary report, Mr Murray said when the aircraft was on final approach, the pilot apparently abandoned the landing attempt and initiated a go-around.
“The reason for the go-around has to be determined,” he stated.
Shocked golfers on the large estate in Enniskerry watched as the left wing struck the upper branches of a tree, about 71 metres beyond the runway end.
The aircraft flipped over, crashed and burst into flames.
Mr Whitney (66) was killed at the scene while Dr Slazenger died two days later in hospital.
Dr Slazenger, who retired from the St Vincent's Hospital group four years ago, is survived by his wife, Noreen, his grown-up daughters, Marianne, Sarah and Elizabeth, brothers John and Peter and sisters Wendy and Joanna.