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Cornamona Air Corps crash likely caused by disorientation - report

Captain Derek Furniss and Cadet David Jevens were killed in the October 2009 crash.

Dec 2009: An Air Corps memorial ceremony for Captain Derek Furniss and Cadet David Jevens.
Dec 2009: An Air Corps memorial ceremony for Captain Derek Furniss and Cadet David Jevens.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive

AN INVESTIGATION into the fatal crash of an Air Corps training flight in Cornamona, Co Galway in October 2009 has concluded that disorientation following the loss of situational awareness were the probable causes of the crash.

The two people on board, Captain Derek Furniss, 32, and 22-year-old Cadet David Jevens, were killed in the incident.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit published its final report (pdf here) into the crash yesterday and said that deteriorating weather conditions was also a factor in the incident. It said the aircraft crashed nose down at speed into the side of a valley in Connemara.

Poor weather conditions also hampered the subsequent search for the aircraft after the emergency services were alerted to the crash, and the AAIU says that two local residents managed to local the destroyed plane and reported the fatalities to the gardaí. The residents also guided emergency services to the scene.

Advisors from the aircraft and engine manufacturer travelled to Ireland to assist the AAIU. The Irish Air Corps was also involved in the investigation.

In a statement, the Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sean McCann offered his “deepest sympathy to the families of Capt Derek Furniss and Cadet David Jevens on the tragic loss of their loved ones”.

“I fully appreciate that the passage of time will not have dulled their absolute sense of loss,” he added.

McCann also said he fully accepts the AAIU report and has ensured its recommendations are being implemented:

While I must ensure that members of the Defence Forces are trained to the highest possible standards in order to serve the Irish people; I am also acutely aware that we must continue to apply the highest international standards of risk management to ensure the safety and well being of all our personnel.

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