Belfast Telegraph

Investigation into crash that killed pilots continues

Peter Tawse and John Finnan were both members of Wexford Flying Club.


By Cate McCurry, PA

The investigation into a light aircraft crash that killed two men in Co Wexford is continuing.

Peter Tawse and John Finnan, who were both members of Wexford Flying Club, died following the incident on Sunday evening in the Ambrosetown area, close to Duncormick.

Inspectors from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) returned to the scene today where they continued to removed the debris from the crash site – which is spread over a number of fields.

The two pilots were travelling in the two-seater plane, which has been described as a “vintage aircraft”.

Mr Tawse, who worked as a manager for Waterford Airport, was an experienced pilot and instructor.

In a statement, Waterford Aero Club said: “Peter was well known in Waterford and indeed a very good friend to many here.

“He had previously instructed in Waterford and served as manager of Waterford Airport.

“He was also a regular contributor to aviation publications and his knowledge and experience vast.

“On behalf of everyone in Waterford, we offer our most sincere condolences to his wife Kay, family, friends, members of ILAS and indeed everyone in Irish aviation who will be experiencing a sense of loss today.

“Although Peter’s flying partner John Finnan was unknown to us, as fellow aviators we offer again condolences to his family and friends.”

The chief inspector of AAIU, Jurgen White said they received the report of the crash from the gardai at around 6pm on Sunday.

Speaking to RTE, he said: “We assembled a team of four inspectors led by Paul Farrell, including two pilots and two engineers.

“We arrived on site just after 9pm and we commenced on our initial investigation.

“There were initial reports of a loud bang being heard so we hope to have an opportunity to speak to a number of eyewitness who had actually seen and heard the aircraft in difficulty.

“Our understanding is that this aircraft is based in an airfield close to Wexford.

“It’s flown a number of flights out of Taghmon and the general area.”

He said he was not aware if the aircraft was being used as part of training exercise, but said it will form part of the investigation.

Mr White will spend the next few days conducting a full survey of the site which he said is spread over a significant area in a number of fields.

“We’ll spend time looking for any wreckage from the aircraft, identifying it and recording it and hopefully recovering the wreckage,” he added.

Reacting to reports that the aircraft exploded before it crashed, he added: “It gives us some indication of what investigation it should take but at the moment it could be a number of factors.

“There is an indication that something was happening to the aircraft before it impacted.

“We don’t believe there was any external factor so we will be concentrating on recovering the wreckage and looking at the records and maintenance. We do hope within the next 30 days there will be a preliminary report outlining the basis of the facts.”



From Belfast Telegraph