The Cork air crash disaster starkly shows how fragile life can be, Northern Ireland’s First Minister has said.
Peter Robinson said he was shocked by news of the tragedy, which drew condolences from across Ireland, north and south, and at Westminster.
He said his thoughts were with the families and friends of those involved.
“This is I think testimony to the unquestionable uncertainty of life,” he said. “Families that start out either to do a day’s business or to enjoy some pleasure have been thrust into circumstances that they could not have imagined.”
He added: “This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with the families of the bereaved. My thoughts are also with the injured and I hope that they will make a full and speedy recovery.”
The Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “I am shocked at this news and want to convey my condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in the plane crash.
“My thoughts are also with those who have been injured.”
Both men visited Belfast City Airport where the flight took off. They said the Stormont administration was offering all help that it could and that Transport Minister Conor Murphy was in contact with his counterpart in the south.
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Paterson said: “This is a terrible tragedy. I offer my profound condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of those killed and injured.
“I have spoken to our Ambassador in Dublin who is on his way to Cork and who will be working closely with the Irish authorities.”
East Belfast MP Naomi Long, whose constituency includes the City Airport, said: “It is a very dark day for both Belfast and Cork.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have been killed or injured, and I know that the whole community will be thinking of them at this difficult time, and would join with me in wishing those who have survived a full recovery.”
Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott said: “Like everyone else in Northern Ireland I was shocked to learn that a Belfast to Cork commuter flight crashed this morning, resulting in a number of fatalities and injuries. This is a terrible tragedy.”
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds raised the tragic events at Cork Airport in the House of Commons where he asked Westminster representatives to join him in passing on their thoughts to those involved in the tragedy.
TUV leader Jim Allister said: “Like everyone else I am deeply shocked by the tragic news from Cork. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the affected families.”
Presbyterian Moderator Dr Norman Hamilton also expressed shock over the crash and he extended his sympathy to the families of those injured and bereaved.
“My prayers and those of the whole Presbyterian community are with them at this tragic time,” he said.
Lord Mayor of Belfast Pat Convery said: “On behalf of the citizens of Belfast I extend my heartfelt sympathy to those families bereaved by this tragedy.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them as well as those who are being treated for their injuries in hospital.”