Father killed in light aircraft crash named locally

Father killed in light aircraft crash named locally
Dick O'Connell

Latest: A father-of-three who was killed following a light aircraft accident in Kilkenny has been named locally as Dick O'Connell.

The accident occurred at around 9pm last night when the aircraft he was piloting crashed at the back of his home at an area known as Gowran Cross.

It is understood that Mr O'Connell was on his way to attend his daughter's 18th birthday party when the aircraft crash-landed.

A neighbour of the dead man, who was at the party said: “Mr O’Connell was flying over and back by the house taking photographs.

His daughter, whose 18th birthday it was had just completed her Leaving Cert while her younger sister had also finished the Junior Cert. Their brother is in University.

“He would have flown over the area hundreds of times. The plane literally came down about 200 yards from the house after he flew into cabling.

"A nicer and fun-loving man you could not meet."

Gardaí are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the crash or came on the scene in the moments afterwards to contact them on 056-7775000.

Father-of-three, 50s, dies after light-aircraft crash in Kilkenny

Father killed in light aircraft crash named locally

Update 8am: A post mortem examination is to be carried out on the body of a father of three died when the light aircraft he was piloting crashed at the back of his home in Co Kilkenny.

The accident occurred around 9pm on Friday at an area known as Gowran Cross, in Co Kilkenny, which is located around eight kilometres from Kilkenny city.

It is understood the father-of-three was on his way to attend his daughter’s 18th birthday party when the aircraft he was piloting crash-landed.

The aircraft crashed close to the back of his house where the birthday party was being held. It is believed several of the guests witnessed the drama unfold as the aircraft crashed near trees and polls.

There was no-one else in the aircraft at the time of the fatal crash.

The dead man’s home is located close to the Gowran Park racecourse. Partygoers and several locals rushed to the site of the crash, however despite efforts to save the pilot’s life he died a short time later.

He was taken to St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny city. A post mortem examination will take place at University Hospital Waterford.

Gardaí from Thomastown and Kilkenny city along with fire units and several ambulances remained at the scene for several hours.

Officers spoke with many of the guests at the house, who remained to comfort the dead man’s wife, two daughters and son.

A local woman who knew the dead man said: “He was a very respected man who was known around the county for his skills as a builder, who worked a lot with stone.

He was very talented and so many people will be so shocked over what has happened and upset for his family. To witness a crash like that at a birthday party is absolutely horrific.

The Air Accident Investigations Unit (AAIU) were advised by gardaí of the incident and have sent a team of experts to the crash site.

The aircraft remains at the scene to allow for technical examination by AAIU engineers, specialists and gardaí.

Gardaí are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the crash or came on the scene in the moments afterwards to contact them on 056-7775000.

Earlier: Man, 50s, dies after light-aircraft crash in Kilkenny

A man in his 50s has died after a light-aircraft crashed in Co Kilkenny last night.

Father killed in light aircraft crash named locally

The plane came down at around 9pm, about 10km from Kilkenny City.

The man was piloting a micro-light when it crash-landed in a field.

Eye-witnesses said it narrowly avoided nearby houses as it came down.

The pilot, a local businessman, was the only person on board.

Gardaí, fire units and several ambulances responded to the scene which has been sealed off overnight.

The Air Accident Investigations Unit (AAIU) have also sent two inspectors to the crash site.

An investigation is now underway and gardaí at Kilkenny are appealing for anyone who witnessed what happened, to come forward.

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