2011 Cork airport air accident inquest hears from survivors

Cork Air Crash
Cork Air Crash

Verdicts of accidental death were returned yesterday by the jury at the inquest into the deaths of six people in a plane crash at Cork Airport three years ago.

Survivors of the air crash had testified to their experiences before the accident.

Some of those who had been on board the plane which ploughed into the ground and caught fire also praised the emergency services.

The 19-seater plane had been en route from Belfast at the time it crashed in fog on February 10, 2011.

On board were 10 passengers and two crew, and it had made three failed attempts to land.

According to media reports of the hearing, Heather Elliott was travelling from Belfast to visit her mother at the time of the incident, and described how she grew concerned that the pilot would not be able to see through the dense fog.

The report said that her fear had been she was going to be burned alive after flames took hold of the aircraft when it hit the ground, and that she said she and fellow passenger Laurence Wilson held hands and prayed.

According to RTE, Mr Wilson said he began to be suffocated by mud which was filling the aircraft.

Another passenger, Mark Dickens, sat over the right wing because the seat had more leg room, and saw it clip the ground as it came in to land at a 45-degree tilt.

He said it appeared to be going too fast.

A number of those testifying hailed the work of the emergency crews which came to their aid.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said the six people who died had sustained serious head and brain injuries, typical of blunt force trauma such as an aviation crash.

She said that the bulk of the fatalities had been seated in the forward portion of the aircraft.

The coroner said the jury was entitled to come to the conclusion that fog had been a major factor in the crash, and also said that on the basis of the evidence the pilots had been making their best efforts to land the plane safely.