Belfast Telegraph

Eyewitness tells how aircraft 'dropped out of sky' - two dead in plane crash

An investigation is underway. Credit: Niall Carson/PA
An investigation is underway. Credit: Niall Carson/PA

By Tom Brady

Two men have been killed in a light aircraft crash in the Republic of Ireland.

The privately owned plane took off from a small airstrip outside Athy at around 7.20pm yesterday.

Minutes later it disappeared and a search for the missing craft was immediately launched.

A search and rescue helicopter from the Irish Coastguard Service located the plane in a field in the townland of Belan, Moone, Kildare, shortly after 4.30am.

The two men were pronounced dead at the scene and their bodies were taken to Naas General Hospital.

The two deceased men were from Dundrum in Dublin and Kildare.

Rescuers said there was no debris at the scene or any immediate indication why the craft crashed.

"It looked like the craft just literally dropped out of the sky, like a stone", one said today.

The two men have been identified but their names have not been released as they have relatives living overseas.

One man was in his 70s and the other in his 50s.

Officials from the air accident investigation unit in the Department of Transport and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) are at the scene and helping local gardai with their inquiries into the incident.

The deputy coroner for Kildare, Dr Loretta Nolan, from the Curragh, has also been called in.

An IAA spokesperson commented: "The IAA is supporting the investigation being carried out by the AAIU and offer sincere condolence to the deceased and their family. We can not comment at this time due to the ongoing investigation."

The Air Accident Investigation Unit said in a statement confirmed that they are also investigating the crash.

They said in a statement today: "Two Inspectors of Air Accidents have deployed and have commenced an Investigation at the scene.

"The aircraft was registered in the United Kingdom and was engaged on a local flight from Kilrush Airfield yesterday evening."

The deputy coroner for Kildare, Dr Loretta Nolan, from the Curragh, has also been called in.

Local gardai said they were currently trying to contact members of the families of the dead men to tell them of the tragic news.

It is understood that the men had taken off from Athy on a leisure flight and the alarm was raised immediately after the pilot lost contact.

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