Northern Ireland

Family raise safety concerns over Cork plane crash

The wreckage of the Manx2 plane at Cork Airport
Image caption The wreckage of the Manx2 plane at Cork Airport

The family of a pilot killed in the Cork air crash in February said they have concerns over safety issues.

Andrew Cantle, 27, from York, was at the controls of the plane which was being operated for Manx2 in heavy fog on a third attempt to land.

Mr Cantle's father, John, told BBC Spotlight: "If Andrew had died of natural causes it would have come under memories and that would have been it.

"But the more you hear the more you are feeling sorry for your son."

Together with other bereaved families and survivors, Mr Cantle hopes an official investigation will probe the relationship between three companies which together operated the Belfast-to-Cork daily service.

It was established in 2010 by Manx2 who used two Spanish companies to operate the route, Flightline BCN, who provided the Air Operator's Certificate, and Air Lada, the plane-providers who employed Mr Cantle.

Since the crash, Manx2 has axed the route and no longer uses Barcelona-based Flightline BCN.

Captain Evan Cullen President of the Irish Airline Pilots' Association said: "Everything about this operation says low cost, low cost, low cost. If you think safety is expensive, try an accident."

Safety inspectors had discovered operational problems on a second plane used by Manx2 on the Belfast to Cork service less than a month before the crash.

It has emerged that one of the issues was out-of-date maps.

Tuesday's BBC Spotlight programme will reveal it was the second time companies used by Manx2 had come to the attention of inspectors implementing a European safety programme.

There were earlier problems in 2009.

In March, an interim report into the crash found no faults with the aircraft or the airport landing systems.

It found that the plane's right wing-tip made contact with the runway on its final landing approach.

At the time, Irish air accident investigators said they were still trying to establish why the plane crashed.

Manx2 told the BBC in a statement that it would be inappropriate to pre-judge the official investigation, which is still ongoing.

On the day of the accident, Manx2 said it audited its operators vigorously.

A spokesman for Flightline told Spotlight the company had no responsibility for the accident. Spotlight repeatedly tried, without success, to contact Air Lada.

Spotlight reporter Julian O'Neill investigates the Cork air crash on BBC1 at 2240 BST.

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