TWO men have died after their helicopter hit power lines and crashed in a remote part of Co Kildare.
The men have been named as Colm Clancy, 34, from Derrybeg, Co Donegal, the pilot and flight instructor of the aircraft, and his 24-year-old student Dermot Sheridan from Blackwater in Co Limerick.
Air accident investigators said there was no power in the lines but the helicopter, a Schweizer 300CBi owned by the European Helicopter Academy, appeared to strike them before crashing.
The men took off from Weston Airport in Co Kildare at 5pm on Wednesday. The alarm was raised by a family member yesterday when they failed to return.
A Coastguard helicopter discovered the wreckage in an isolated area of the Bog of Allen near the Kildare-Meath border at around midday yesterday.
Mr Sheridan is understood to have been survived by his mother Carmel, an adult education teacher in Limerick, and one sister, with shocked neighbours describing him as a “very popular young man”.
Mr Clancy was the second eldest in a family of three other brothers and one sister and is understood to have obtained his flying licence while living in the US.
Last night, family friend and Fine Gael TD Dinny McGinley said the “entire community” was in shock.
The flying school said it first contacted gardaí yesterday morning when it became aware the helicopter was missing. Last night, a spokesman said: “It is tragic, we offer our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved