Tribute to former Dorset police officer killed in plane crash

Emergency services at the scene of the crash Image copyright RTE
Image caption The plane crashed shortly after 16 parachutists jumped from it

A former Dorset Police officer who died in a plane crash in Ireland has been described as a "gregarious character" by the force.

Pilot Neil Bowditch died in the crash in County Offaly on Sunday along with seven-year-old Kacper Kacprzak.

Mr Bowditch was the pilot of the Cessna which had 16 parachutists on board.

Dorset Police Chief Constable James Vaughan said: "We are saddened to hear of the tragic death of former PC Neil Bowditch, known as Billy."

Mr Vaughan added: "Billy was a gregarious character with a great many friends and former colleagues in Dorset Police. All our thoughts are with his friends and family at this very difficult time."

Dorset Police Federation has donated €500 (£437) to an online fundraising page started to support the families of the two crash victims.

The page has currently raised €32,800 (£28,700).

Mr Bowditch was dismissed from the force in 2015 after he became involved with a vulnerable woman he met during the course of his job.

All 16 parachutists onboard jumped from the plane a short time before it crashed in bogland.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit has confirmed it is investigating the circumstances of the crash.

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