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Cork air crash survivors: We realise how lucky we are

The six survivors have met up every year since the tragedy and hope to continue to so so in the future.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A SURVIVOR OF the ill-fated Manx2 flight that crashed at Cork Airport when it attempted to land in thick fog three years ago has said that attending the two-day inquest has made him realise how lucky he is to have survived the tragic accident.

Yesterday the inquest returned a verdict of accidental death in relation to the six people who were killed in the disaster in 2011.

Speaking outside Cork Coroner’s Court after the verdict, Laurence Wilson said: You don’t realise how lucky we were until you were at court here and you heard how everybody died and the circumstances that led up to that. It has really put us in a state where we realise how lucky we are.

Wilson said the six survivors have met every year since the accident and hope to continue to do so in the future.

The crash claimed the lives of flight commander Jordi Sola Lopez and his co-pilot Andrew Cantle as well as four of their ten passengers; accountant Patrick Cullinan, businessman Brendan McAleese, harbourmaster Michael Evans and businessman Richard Noble.

Survivors, their families and the families of some of the deceased attended the inquest over the two days. Richard Noble’s widow was said to be too upset to attend the hearings.

John and Ann Cantle, parents of the 27-year-old co-pilot killed in the air crash, travelled to Cork for the inquest. Speaking after the verdict, they said the findings of the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) report, specifically relating to the inappropriate pairing of flight crews and inadequate oversight by the flight’s operator, had exonerated their son.

‘Manx2 wasn’t an airline’

There were severe criticisms during the inquest, of the complex relationship between Aer Lada, the Spanish owner of the plane, Flightline, the operator, and Manx2.com, the ‘virtual airline’ ticketseller. Leo Murray of the AAIU also said responses to recommendations made in his unit’s report had not been adequate.

Solicitor James Healy-Prett, who represented three of the deceased and five of the six survivors, said that the families now want to see all eleven of the recommendations implemented.

This tragedy happened three years and four months ago but its affects on the families of those who died and those who survived continue to this day.

“One of the problems we had here was you had a Spanish regulator who did not come down heavily enough on the Spanish operator that was breaking some of the rules,” he continued.

“Manx2 wasn’t an airline. Everyone thought it was an airline, quite reasonably and justifiably. As a seat seller there was very light touch regulation, so that was a problem area.”

He said that it had been showed that Manx2 was exercising some kind of operational control and that is simply not appropriate.

Manx2 technically were simple a seller of seats but to the ordinary person on the street, the traveller, they were an airline that took care and reasonability for the operation and the safety of the operation. The facts and reality are somewhat different from the perception that they were pushing on the public. That should not be allowed happen again.

More from the Manx2 air crash inquest:

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Joe Leogue

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