Two die after light aircraft crashes into mountain

Two men died yesterday after their light aircraft crashed into a mountain in Co Wexford.

The tragedy unfolded when the plane crashed into a part of the Blackstairs Mountains known as the Blackstairs Commons.

The men — one in his early 50s and the other in his mid-60s — had departed from Ballyboy Airfield in Athboy, Co Meath, heading south.

The coastguard received a call from gardaí at 1.59pm and it is understood that a hillwalker first spotted the stricken plane and contacted the emergency services.

Gardaí, mountain rescue personnel, and air accident investigators were then airlifted to the scene by the Waterford Coast Guard helicopter.

The area of the mountain where the plane crashed is not accessible by road or pathway, and so emergency teams had to be landed on the mountain by the Rescue 117 helicopter.

It is understood that no distress signal was issued by the aircraft before it crashed and that weather conditions were good yesterday morning.

The mountain where the aircraft crashed is near Mt Leinster on the Carlow- Wexford border and gardaí in nearby Enniscorthy are investigating. A member of staff at the Ballyboy Airfield said last night members of the families of the two men were still being informed of the tragedy.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Barry, spokesman for the South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association and a member of the rescue team on the mountain last night, said every effort was being made to remove the bodies of the two men from the area before this morning.

“There are roughly 35 members of our own members involved,” he said. They were being assisted by members of the gardaí, the coastguard, and eight air accident investigators.

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