Dutch families commemorate victims of plane crash

THE families of four Dutch people killed in a plane crash in the Knockmealdown Mountains 20 years ago made the sad journey back to The Vee yesterday to attend a memorial Mass.

The commemoration was organised by a committee led by Superintendent Tom O’Grady of Dungarvan Garda Station, who was sergeant in Lismore Garda Station at the time of the tragedy. Among those in attendance were the Dutch Charge d’Affaire, Bert Vander Linger, as well as relatives of the deceased who travelled from Eindhoven.

Mayor of Lismore Peter Ahearne, the Mayor of Dungarvan, Damien Geoghegan, and Mayor of Co Waterford, Billy Kyne, were also in attendance, as well as representatives from the Civil Defence and the Garda Síochána. Also there were Lt Colonel Andy McIntyre and Sgt John Greene of the Air Corps, former assistant garda commisioner Tom Sloyan, Army Commandant Benny McEvoy of Clonmel, HSE national major emergency coordinator Gerry O’Dwyer and representatives of South East Mountain Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service.

A single-engined four-seater plane crashed on July 18, 1987, while on its way from Cork to Dublin, instantly killing pilot Jan Van Dijk, 35, his fiancée Marion van Hulst, 35, her father Hendricus, 65, and her brother, also Hendricus, 15.

Misty conditions at the time are believed to have led to the crash, eight miles from Lismore on The Vee road between Clogheen and Lismore.

The bodies of the four crash victims, who had been on a tour of Ireland and Scotland and just spent two days in a Cork guesthouse, were flown back to The Netherlands for burial and an inquest held in Clonmel found that they died from multiple injuries.

It’s thought that, in thick fog, the plane made a wrong turning while en route from Cork Airport to Dublin.

A wreath was laid at the site of the crash yesterday, 20 years after the tragedy, while a memorial cross was unveiled after the commemorative Mass, which was celebrated by Fr Bonaventure Comiskey from nearby Mount Melleray.

Fr Tom Nugent, a retired priest from the diocese of Waterford and Lismore, con-celebrated.

“It went very well and even the weather was perfect,” said Fr Bonaventure.

Family members of the four people who died in the crash are regular visitors to the area.

A reception took place in the Lismore House Hotel after the event.

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