Medic's shock over crash survivors
Published 10/02/2011 | 20:32
One of the Republic's top emergency medics has said he is amazed anyone survived the crash.
Dr Stephen Cusack, professor of emergency medicine at Cork University Hospital, said he was shocked to see passengers alive as he arrived at the scene.
"What struck me about it was the fact the aircraft was so damaged and yet there were people coming out of it," he said.
"Given the amount of damage that was done it was quite remarkable that half of the people onboard survived."
Dr Cusack, a leading medic in dealing with major emergencies, set up a field hospital near the wreckage.
When he arrived shortly after the impact, he saw two survivors walking unaided away from the upturned aircraft. Four others who remain seriously injured were pulled from the wreckage.
Dr Cusack said some of the survivors expressed their delight at being alive. "There's a mixture of shock and gratitude at the fact that they are alive," he said. "They're obviously very traumatised by the whole experience."
One passenger recounted the sudden experience of the plane going off the runway but there was little recollection of the moments leading up to the accident.
Dr Cusack also revealed that, miraculously, one of the survivors was seated at the front of the plane, which was completely destroyed in the crash. The remaining survivors were all at the rear of the aircraft on impact.
The Health Service Executive is setting up counselling sessions for the passengers, their families and staff who worked at the scene. A room has also been set aside for the bereaved at Cork University Hospital.