President's relative among six killed in Cork crash

Feb 10 2011

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Six people, including a relative of the Irish president, have been killed and six others injured after a plane from Belfast crashed in fog at Cork Airport.

The Manx2 commuter flight with 10 passengers and two crew on board crashed on the runway on its third attempt to land just before 1000 GMT.

Brendan McAleese, a cousin of Mary McAleese's husband, was killed.

The other victims were said to be two Northern Ireland businessmen, a Briton, a Spanish pilot and British co-pilot.

Mr McAleese owned the Central Laundries business in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, and was married with a young family.

Another of those killed was Pat Cullinan, originally from Omagh, Co Tyrone, and a partner in accountancy firm KPMG in Belfast.

A third victim was named as Captain Michael Evans, deputy harbour commissioner in Belfast.

Irish, British and Spanish passport-holders were on board the aircraft which was flying between the two cities as part of a scheduled daily service. All their families have been informed.

The six injured are being treated at Cork University Hospital.

Dr Gerry McCarthy, head of emergency medicine at Cork University Hospital, said two people are in intensive care with chest, abdomenal and spinal injuries.

Two people remain in a serious condition, while the other two are described as doing "well".

'Difficult time'

Flight NM7100, a scheduled daily flight from Belfast to Cork, left George Best Belfast City Airport at 0750 GMT.

Jurgen Whyte, senior inspector with Ireland's Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), said the aircraft 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."

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