Man dies in Wicklow plane crash


A retired anaesthetist whose family founded the Slazenger sports brand was fighting for his life today after a plane crash which left another man dead.

Dr Michael Slazenger was seriously injured when his light aircraft overturned and crashed at a private airstrip on the grounds of his Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow yesterday afternoon.

The doctor’s companion in the plane, 66-year-old Noel Whitney, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two-seater single-engine aircraft got into difficulties as it was attempting to land at around 3pm.

Shocked golfers on the large estate in Enniskerry looked on as the plane’s wing struck a tree before the aircraft flipped over, crashed and burst into flames at the end of the airstrip.

Dr Slazenger was rushed to Tallaght Hospital in Dublin and later transferred to the burns unit of St James’ Hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.

Members of the Powerscourt Golf Club — of which the 69-year-old is president — witnessed the accident as it unfolded.

The club’s general manager Bernard Gibbons said the club’s 900 golfers were in shock.

“Michael Slazenger is very keen aviator and a keen golfer and a good family man, and well-respected by everybody within the golf club and in Enniskerry,” he added.

“I’d say the family are in a state of shock but I’d say they’re really thinking of the Whitney family — we’ll all be thinking about their tragic loss as a result of the accident.”

Mr Whitney’s body was taken to Loughlinstown Hospital in south Dublin, where a post-mortem examination will be carried out tomorrow.

An inquiry by the Department of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Unit is also under way.

The Powerscourt estate, famous for its castle and landscaped gardens, has been owned by the Slazenger family since 1961.