Kildare aircraft crash: Two men killed are named locally

Plane being used for training flight appears to have broken in two on impact in a field

The scene of a light aircraft crash in Belan, outside Athy, Co Kildare where two men  were killed. Photograph: The Irish Times

The scene of a light aircraft crash in Belan, outside Athy, Co Kildare where two men were killed. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

A light aircraft which crashed in Co Kildare, killing two men, appears to have broken in two on impact in a field at Belan, southwest of Moone.

The plane, a BRM Aero Bristell NG5, had taken off on a training flight from Kilrush Airfield on Thursday with two men on board, one aged in his 70s and one in his 50s, according to the Department of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU).

The men were named locally on Thursday night as James Price from Ballinteer in Dublin and Aidan Rowsome, also from Dublin.

The British-registered plane is a Czech built, single engine aircraft with two seats in a side-by-side configuration.

Gardaí were notified the plane was missing at about 1am on Thursday, Supt Martin Walker of Kildare Garda station said. The alarm was raised when the families of the men and the owner of the aircraft became concerned.

They immediately carried out a search with the aid of a Garda helicopter and units on the ground were joined by Coast Guard rescue helicopter 116.

Supt Walker said air traffic control centres at Dublin and Shannon were notified and a possible last known location of the aircraft established, leading to a search of the Ballitore, Moone and Athy areas.

The crash site was found by Rescue 116 at about 4.30am and a short time later emergency personnel arrived.

The two men in the plane were pronounced dead at the scene and following consultation with the coroner their bodies were removed to Naas General Hospital for postmortem examinations.

Supt Walker said Garda family liaison officers in Dublin and Kildare were assisting.

Howard Hughes of the AAIU said it had been notified at 3.30am and had secured a possible last known location for the flight from Dublin air traffic control. Mr Hughes said the plane was not in an area where it was required to contact air authorities.

He said there had been no communication at all from the pilot “nor would he have been obliged to do so”.

Largely intact

Mr Hughes said any conjecture as to the cause “would be purely speculation at this stage”. He said the condition of the plane, which was largely intact, would assist the investigation.

As the unit prepared to remove the aircraft from the field to Gormanstown, Co Meath, for a detailed examination, it was obvious that it had split in two on impact.

The tail section and some of the fuselage was detached from the plane and sitting at an angle to the rest of the aircraft.

However, given the proximity of the parts, sources said it was more likely this happened when the plane landed, rather than being the cause of the crash.

Chief inspector of the AAIU Jurgen White said he was hoping to have a preliminary report within 30 days.

The aircraft was on a training flight when the incident occurred, he added.

Mr White said he will keep an open mind as to the cause of the accident through the entire “long and detailed” process, which will be “meticulous”.