Pilot dies in car an hour after landing passenger plane

An hour after flying an Aer Lingus regional flight into Shannon, a pilot collapsed and died at the wheel of his car while driving home to Mallow, an inquest heard.

Denis Metcalfe, aged 25, of Copstown Cross, Mallow, was a first-officer employed by Stobart Air, which operated Aer Lingus regional services.

A verdict that Mr Metcalfe died from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome — also known as sudden adult death syndrome — was recorded yesterday by Limerick coroner, Dr Tony Casey.

Cabin crew member Lisa Coyne said on August 17 last she worked withMr Metcalfe on the Shannon/Manchester/Shannon and the Shannon/Birmingham/Shannon services.

On arrival at Shannon at 10.49pm she and Mr Metcalfe were the last two to leave the flight. She spoke with him and he seemed fine and his normal self.

Bernadette Gleeson, a teacher who lives in Mungret said she was driving on the N20 from Cork at 11.50pm on August 17.

An oncoming car suddenly veered across the road before colliding with the ditch.

Det Garda Anthony O’Driscoll, based at Henry St station, said he was off duty when he came across a road traffic accident.

Two males were standing at the door of a Peugeot and they told him the driver of the car was asleep and they could not wake him.

He rang for an ambulance.

On checking the driver was unresponsive and he immediately pulled him from the car and laid him on the ground.

Det Garda O’Driscoll said the man was not breathing and he started CPR.

Another man assisted him as did a nurse who came on the scene.

Mr Metcalfe was later pronounced dead at University Hospital Limerick.

Forensic collision investigator, Garda Mick Reddy said Mr Metcalfe’s car was very well maintained and the impact with the hedge was so slight, that the car was driveable after the collision which occurred at a low speed.

A pathologist’s examination report said Mr Metcalfe had no medical abnormalities.


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