AccuWeather reports a small plane crash that caused six confirmed deaths in Ireland happened as thick fog was being observed at the Cork Airport.
At the time of the fiery crash, shortly before 10 a.m., local time, the Cork Airport reported visibility of only 300 to 400 yards (meters). The temperature was 41 degrees F, or 5 degrees C, with winds of 5 to 10 mph, or 8 to 16 km/h.
News reports said that the crash happened during the third of three attempted landings, and that low visibility led to the aborting of the first two attempts.
Along with six deaths, there were said to be six wounded, two of them critically. Four of the wounded were able to walk away from the burning wreck.
The plane was reportedly an 18-seat Metroliner SW4 turboprop aircraft used for regional commuting.
The flight took off from Belfast, Northern Ireland, bound for Cork with 10 passengers and a crew of two.
Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he had recently changed plans to travel on the Manx2 commuter flight.
The 19-seat aircraft from Belfast was carrying 10 passengers and two crew when it crashed on the runway at 10am yesterday morning.
Residents close to the airport reported hearing a plane overhead that sounded “like it was in trouble”.
Eight fire crews rushed to the scene.
Aviation experts have said that the flight crew may have made a mistake in persisting in attempts to land in poor visibility.
Jurgen Whyte, senior inspector with the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), said the plane had crashed, inverted and caught fire about 1,000ft down the runway.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said: “This is I think testimony to the unquestionable uncertainty of life.
“Families that start out either to do a day’s business or to enjoy some pleasure have been thrust into circumstances that they could not have imagined.”
Mr McGuinness, was due to campaign in the wider Cork area in support of his party, Sinn Fein, said: “This is a route I have travelled on a number of occasions….I had contemplated travelling on this flight, but that changed due to other circumstances.”
The Health Service Executive said four of the injured were in a serious condition and the other two injured were described as comfortable.
A spokesman for Cork University Hospita confirmed that the survivors were suffering from various injuries including fractured and broken bones as well as a punctured lung but none is in a critical condition.
One of the pilots of the aircraft was Spanish and the other was from the UK.
In a statement, Manx2 said: “The aircraft left Belfast City Airport at 07:50 GMT this morning and was due to land in Cork at 09:00am.
“Due to weather conditions at Cork Airport the aircraft tried to land twice, and the incident took place on its third approach.
“We are working with all relevant authorities to establish what happened.
“We would like to express our sincere sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident.”
The Fairchild Metroliner involved in the crash is an American-built turbo-propeller commuter plane which has been in operation for more than four decades.
The aircraft in yesterday’s accident dates from 1992 and was added to the fleet a few years ago.
Manx2 does not operate any aircraft itself but sells flights which are operated by a number of different carriers.
The Metroliner was operated by Flightline BCN which is based in Barcelona.
ogether to establish the cause of the deadly Cork plane crash.
A team of experts from theDepartment of Transport were dispatched to the airport by helicopter shortly after the accident to examine the wreckage.
Along with a second unit they will forensically study radar records, air traffic control tapes, weather reports and the condition and operation of the aircraft.
They also recovered the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, known as the black box.
The investigators hope to have a preliminary report compiled within a month to identify the basic facts but the complete report might not be finished for up to two years.
Jurgen Whyte, senior inspector with Ireland’s Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), said the plane had crashed, inverted and caught fire about 1,000ft down the runway.
“We have to review the air traffic control tapes. We have to review the radar pictures and we have to spend a period of time analysing the information to determine what was actually happening,” he said.
“Of particular interest to us is recovery of the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder and hopefully when we recover that information and analyse it it will give us some indication of what was going on in the final moments.”
A second team from the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch will gather details on the state of the aircraft before it took off and fuel loads.
A team from the UK also travelled to Ireland to see the wreckage first hand.