Belfast Telegraph

Father of boy killed in aircraft crash ‘parachuted from plane minutes earlier’

The crash happened in bog land near Edenderry.

The parachutist father of a seven-year-old boy killed in a light aircraft crash made a scheduled jump from the plane just minutes earlier, local councillors said.

The child died in the accident in Ireland after 16 parachutists left. The experienced pilot also died.

The plane went down on bog land in Co Offaly in the Irish midlands on Sunday afternoon.

Councillor Eddie Fitzpatrick said: “His father was jumping out of the plane.”

He said the pilot had been hired by the Irish Parachute Club since their own plane was being serviced. He was from the UK.

Mr Fitzpatrick added: “He was a very competent and experienced pilot.”

It’s a great shock to hear of an accident like that happening Councillor Eddie Fitzpatrick

The club said it was “deeply saddened” and confirmed the aircraft had been operating on its behalf.

It thanked the emergency services and investigators.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit examined the scene on Monday.

The bodies were recovered from the wreckage on Sunday night and taken for post-mortem examinations to the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore.

The aircraft had taken off from Clonbullogue airfield at around 2.25pm.

The crash happened a few kilometres away in bog land near Edenderry.

The Clonbullogue facility is popular with skydivers.

A Garda spokesman said there were 16 parachutists on board.

“All 16 made their jump from the craft,” he said.

“However, witnesses then saw the aircraft crash shortly afterwards.

“There were two people on board, the pilot and a seven-year-old boy.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said the airfield had a long-established reputation for parachuting.

“People would be over there all the time, especially at weekends in the summer, a lot of people parachuting and a lot of fundraising jumpers,” he said.

“It’s a great shock to hear of an accident like that happening.”

Fellow Offaly councillor Noel Cribbin said these flights have been happening for the last 20 years and this is the first time he had heard of a plane going down.

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