Report points to cause of fatal plane crash
A preliminary report into a fatal plane crash in the Blackstairs Mountains on the Wexford-Carlow border in May has found low cloud, mist and drizzle may have led to poor visibility.
Bryan Keane, aged 69, and Paul Smith, aged 58, died instantly when the Cessna 182 aircraft they were flying crashed on the afternoon of Sunday, May 24.
Both were experienced pilots from Athboy Co Meath and were on their way to a fly-in at a private airfield near Taghmon with their two pet dogs when their plane crashed in the Blackstairs Mountain, killing both of them and the animals.
Other pilots attending the fly-in described the weather conditions in the vicinity of Blackstairs Mountain about the time of the accident, as 'mist' and 'drizzle' with a cloud ceiling between 800 and 1,000 ft above mean sea level.
In its preliminary report, the Air Accident Investigation Unit said a number of persons living or walking in the area of the Blackstairs Mountain contacted the AAIU and made reports regarding the weather on the morning of the accident. These reports indicated that the upper portion of the mountain was obscured by what was variously described as 'drizzle', 'rain' and 'low cloud'.
The aircraft, a Cessna 182, departed departed Ballyboy Airfield at around 9 a.m.
The final radar return showed the aircraft at an altitude of 2,300 ft with an indicated airspeed of 120 kts. The accident site was located on a steep rocky slope on the western side of a ridge extending south west from the summit, peak elevation 733 m (2,405 ft) of Blackstairs Mountain. The aircraft impacted at an elevation of approximately 2,150 ft.
Investigations are continuing.