Six people were killed, including a relative of Ireland President Mary McAleese, when a small commuter aircraft crashed at Cork airport in southern Ireland today as it attempted to land, police said.
There were 10 passengers and two pilots on board the Manx2 airline flight, the company said in a statement on its website. The flight, from Belfast to Cork, crashed shortly before 10 a.m. on approach after two failed attempts, the company said.
The plane wasn’t in view of the air-traffic control tower because of poor visibility due to fog when it crashed, Irish Aviation Authority Chief Executive Officer Eamon Brennan said on RTE Television.
The plane, a Fairchild Metroliner, crashed at 9:50 a.m. police said in a statement. The daily flight, number BPS 7100, left Belfast at 8:12 a.m.
A casualty information bureau has been set up at the airport. One of the pilots in the crash may have been a Spanish national, according to a police spokesman at a press conference in Cork, broadcast by RTE today.
All six of the passengers killed in the crash were males, Irish police said in an e-mailed statement this evening. One of the dead was Brendan McAleese, a cousin of the Irish president’s husband, Martin.
“I am especially conscious of the pain being experienced tonight by all of the bereaved, as one of the deceased was Brendan McAleese, my husband, Martin’s, cousin,” the president said in a statement.
Three of the deceased lived in Northern Ireland, two elsewhere in the U.K. and one was from Spain, the police statement said.
Four of those injured in the crash were in “serious condition,” John Paul O’Shea, a spokesman for Cork University Hospital said by phone. The other two injured passengers were in a “comfortable” condition, he said.
Manx2, which was founded on the Isle of Man, said today that it hired the aircraft from Flightline BCN in Spain. Manx2 employs 60 staff and has a fleet of seven aircraft providing up to 30 flights a day to the Isle of Man, according to a company press release in October. Manx2 carries 100,000 passengers a year to the Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, halfway between Britain and Ireland, the company said.
McAleese and Prime Minister Brian Cowen expressed their “shock and sadness” at news of the crash in separate statements. Transport Minister Pat Carey told RTE he expected to have a report into the causes of the crash in a few weeks.
Manx2 operates flights from Isle of Man to Belfast, Blackpool, Gloucester, Leeds and Newcastle, as well as from Belfast to Cork and Galway in Ireland. The company said Sept. 13 it was starting a twice-daily flight from Belfast to Cork, and was making George Best Belfast City Airport its first permanent base outside of the Isle of Man.