Northern Ireland

Cork air crash survivor speaks of miracle escape

Laurence Wilson from Larne was one of six passengers who survived the Cork air crash.

Six people, including the pilot and co-pilot of the Manx2 flight died when it crashed on its third attempt.

Mr Wilson said it was "really really foggy" at the airport.

"They had attempted it twice before and then it was on the third go that the co-pilot said they were going to do a 20-minute loop to wait until the fog cleared, but whenever we came down, it was quite obvious that the fog hadn't cleared," he said.

"The plane was just coming in and that was it. It tipped over and hit a wing."

His first memories after the crash were of "total darkness" because the plane was covered in mud.

"Once the mud cleared, I pushed most of it out of my way, but I was still trapped," he recalled.

"When the emergency services came onto the scene, I could hear one person at the back saying it was on fire.

"Then the emergency services had to get the fire out very, very quickly and we could hear the emergency services banging on the outside of the plane.

"The speed that they got in and their efficiency was tremendous.

Image caption Lawrence Wilson and his wife, May read about the crash in the papers

"It was as if it was being rehearsed. It was that good. I just can't say enough how well organised and how well that was done."

When rescue crews found Mr Wilson, they removed the mud from his face and gave him air.

"Miracle"

"Water came in around me, which was obviously to get rid of the mud and then I felt the relief of being able to breathe and the relief of being cut free and walking out.

"Even the emergency services guy grabbed hold of me and said: 'that was some miracle, you walking out of this'."

After being treated at the scene, Mr Wilson was helped out of the plane.

"I said to the two guys that were supporting me on each side to stop and turn me around, " he said.

"I did take a few moments to just look at the plane, to just recollect what had actually happened."

He was then taken to Cork University Hospital.

"Whenever I first arrived, one of the nurses came straight up to me and grabbed me and hugged me and started to cry, it was a really emotional time," he said.

"At that stage you just don't know, who is living and who is dead. It was obviously a big big trauma."

"Lottery"

Image caption Lawrence Wilson suffered minor injuries in the crash

Mr Wilson was treated for minor injuries.

"It was like a lottery as to where I sat down on the plane," he said.

"There were guys in front of me not lucky at all. It was really a lottery, it's just where you sit.

At his home in Larne, Mr Wilson said his thoughts were with the families of the six passengers and crew who died in the crash.

"From my heart, what can you really say, I'm just so so sorry. If I could nearly swap myself for some of them, I would have done it," he said.

"My thoughts and my prayers are with them."

Mr Wilson paid tribute to those who had saved his life.

"If it wasn't for the rescue services down at Cork, I just wouldn't be here today," he said.

"The rescue people were absolutely tremendous, their speed and professionalism and then the caring when they did actually get me out. If it wasn't for that, I just wouldn't be here."

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