Pilot, boy killed as plane crashes in remote, forested area

Sheetal Sukhija - Tuesday 15th May, 2018

OFFALY, Ireland - A tragic light aircraft crash in Offaly left two people, including the pilot of the plane and a seven-year-old boy dead.

The light aircraft operated by the Irish Parachute Club which left the Clonbullogue Airfield, crashed 2 kms away from the airport.

The incident took place on Sunday afternoon near Clonbullogue, Co Offaly and officials said that there were 16 parachutists on board the plane.

The crash took place after all parachutists made their jump.

Following the crash, officials said that the incident killed the pilot and a young boy, after the plane nosedived straight into a forest and submerged itself around 15 feet deep into bogland.

According to one witness quoted in local reports, a man, who was later involved in the recovery operation, said the terrain in which the Cessna Caravan aircraft crashed is remote, boggy, forested and difficult.

A report in the Independent quoted the witness as saying, “I saw the plane going by at around ten past two, it had dropped off the parachutists, and I think the pilot was taking the little lad for a spin when something went wrong. Then I got a call later asking me about a plane crash. Another man who was out working said he saw it fall straight down with the engine roaring, and it hit the bog with a thump. There were no flames, and no explosion, it just went straight down into the bog.”

According to the report, one wing of the plane had been sheared off by the trees, and several trees had to be cut down to access the wreckage.

He added, “The bog had sucked it down. It was around 12 to 15 feet deep in the bog with only the tail of it visible. We were trying to pull it out with chains but they were cutting through it. I couldn't believe how light the material is in these planes. We were working in it until around 11 o'clock before we reached the two lads. They were in the cockpit. I'm very shook after it.”

Officials said that the plane was eventually pulled out of the bog and was found in three sections. 

Further, the Air Accident Investigation Unit has reportedly opened an investigation.

The wreckage is set to be removed for further examination too

Sinn Fein Councillor Martin O'Reilly was quoted as saying that everyone in the area is stunned by the tragic news.

Adding, "It's shocking and under such circumstances, the parachute club is there years and there has never been an incident like this. It seemed to have been such a routine flight, parachute jumps happen there every weekend for various reasons, you always see planes flying overhead. When we got word about what had happened at around 7pm last night that the individuals on board would be okay and if they were hurt that they wouldn't be seriously so, unfortunately that didn't transpire to be."

He said that that his thought are with those affected.