Family of Cork crash pilot sues operators

The girlfriend and parents of a co-pilot killed in a plane crash a year ago are today suing two companies involved in running the flight.

Andrew Cantle, 27, from Sunderland, was newly qualified and had just started his first airline job when he died in the crash in thick fog at Cork Airport.

He had flown the Manx2 flight from Belfast.

Yesterday, his partner, flight attendant Beth Webster, said she was struggling to cope with life without him as lawyers marked the anniversary with a £1 million-plus (€1.2m) lawsuit.

“Since the accident my life has been a living nightmare,” she said. “Andy and I had a bright and promising future together and now I struggle to cope with life without him.

“My friends and family continue to help me through this ordeal, unlike Manx, from whom I have yet to hear a single word of condolence despite the fact that Andy was wearing their uniform and flying an aircraft in Manx2 livery.”

Six people died and six others were injured in the crash.

The lawsuit, by London firm Irwin Mitchell and Dublin firm Murray Flynn Maguire, is against Flightline BCN, which was granted the Air Operator Certificate to run the service, and Airlada, which leased the plane and crew.

Lawyers claim that the accident was avoidable and was caused by the actions of the captain and whoever rostered inexperienced crew together in poor weather.

The lawsuit claims that Ms Webster and Mr Cantle’s family suffered severe trauma after seeing images of the crash on television as they were being notified. She is claiming a possible seven-figure sum for financial loss from her partner’s likely 30-year career.

Ireland’s Air Accident Investigation Unit this week revealed problems with engine No 2 of the twin turboprop Fairchild Metroliner, which could have caused an uneven thrust from the wings. The plane is designed to be flown on one engine if necessary.

It also revealed that the captain took the plane’s power controls seconds before it crashed.

There were two failed attempts to land in the dense fog and breaches of aviation rules on height limits.

One section of the claim is being dealt with by the High Court, while the Personal Injuries Assessment Board is examining the issue of dependency.

As legal action on behalf of Ms Webster and the Cantles gets under way in Dublin, other lawsuits are to be filed in Britain, Ireland and the US by lawyers acting for some survivors.

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