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Irish Olympian walks away from mountain air crash

A former Irish Olympic athlete made a miraculous escape when a plane piloted by her husband crashed into a mountain in the US.

Karen Shinkins said she and husband Paul Doyle, who live in Atlanta, are the “luckiest couple alive” after surviving an |emergency landing last Saturday.

The couple only suffered minor injuries when their small plane nosedived into the foot of a hill after barely missing a fence in a field near Elk Creek, Virginia.

Paul was piloting his Cessna 172 home to Atlanta with his wife following a business meeting in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Karen, a retired professional track and field athelete from |Newbridge in Kildare who is now a photographer, said she had just “tagged along”.

Within hours, she was on the verge of hysteria when the plane struggled after hitting an unexpected rainstorm thousands of feet high.

The only thing that stopped her from screaming was the fear that her husband would not be able to keep a cool head.

She said her heart was beating “at 190 miles a second” as he tried to find a break in the clouds and fly to the closest airport.

“If we had a parachute and |ejector seat, then you better |believe I was outta there,” she said.

When air traffic control asked if they would make an emergency landing, she said: “Right then, I knew we were f***ed”.

They landed in a field. She was amazed to find she only had bruises and scratches.

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