Staff at the airport say they heard a bang as the Manx2 aircraft landed on grass about 30 feet from the runway.
Mary Bayer runs a B&B less than 200 feet away from the main entrance to airport. Her suspicions were first raised when she saw “unmarked garda cars whizzing past” the front of her bungalow: “I then saw streams of endless ambulances and the fire brigades and I knew something huge had happened. But I had heard nothing.”
“I knew the fog was particularly bad but we’re used to that around here. It is absolutely terrible to think that this happened so nearby,” she said.
Hours earlier, Mrs Bayer had dropped her husband to the airport on an early morning flight to Munich.
Michael Cogan lives about 200ft from the Bayers. He too was shocked at the scale of the accident: “I was in the house when I heard the roar of ambulances and then fire brigade sirens. I had heard nothing at all from the crash though. It was a normal morning until I heard this terrible news.”
Another woman, a nurse at St Finbarr’s rehab and geriatric hospital, said she first heard of the accident on the radio.
“I rang work and I’m on standby if they need more help as I’ve heard that all A&E patients from CUH have been transferred to St Finbarr’s so CUH could be cleared for the air crash victims,” she said.
All flights in and out of the airport were cancelled immediately and within hours, media descended and a media centre was established in the bar area.
Two Scottish mothers with toddlers were among hundreds of passengers forced to make alternative arrangements after their flight to Glasgow was cancelled. They expressed shock at the tragedy but admitted they were “disappointed” at how Aer Lingus had treated them.