Final report due on air tragedy which claimed Sunderland pilot

Wreckage of the plane in which six people where killed in a crash at Cork Airport.
Wreckage of the plane in which six people where killed in a crash at Cork Airport.
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AIR accident investigators aim to release a final report into the cause of a plane crash that killed a Wearside co-pilot by the end of the year.

Andrew Cantle, 27, from Moorside, was among the six who died when the flight they were on from Belfast to Cork crashed on its third attempt to land in dense fog at the airport on February 10, 2011.

Manx2 co-pilot Andrew Cantle

Manx2 co-pilot Andrew Cantle

Mr Cantle, who was a member of Sunderland RNLI’s team of volunteers, was newly qualified and had just started his first airline job.

He and Spanish pilot Jordi Gola were trying to bring down the craft when it crashed.

Six people survived the tragedy.

Mr Cantle’s family and his partner Beth Webster are taking legal action against FlightlineBCN, which was granted the Air Operator Certificate to run the service, and Airlada, which leased the plane and crew.

Ireland’s Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) has described its inquiry as highly complex and involving a number of jurisdictions, with Spanish and European aviation authorities being asked to respond to findings.

“While the investigation has no definitive date of release for the final report, every effort is being made to conclude the investigation and publish a final report by the end of the year,” a spokesman for the unit said.

Preliminary reports have been released and consultations over the AAIU’s findings are ongoing.

A number of lawsuits are expected to be launched once the final report is published including from relatives of passengers who died, the injured, and relatives of the flight crew.

The AAIU warned that it may take some time to finalise its investigation depending on the level and substance of responses.

Among the issues being examined were all operational and technical evidence and deeper systemic issues associated with the operation, such as organisational structures, oversight functions and legal frameworks.

A lot of that involved detailed translations from Spanish to English. The others who died in the crash were Brendan McAleese, 39, from County Tyrone; Pat Cullinan, 45, a partner in leading accountancy firm KPMG in Belfast; Captain Michael Evans, 51, deputy harbour master in Belfast; and Richard Noble, a 49-year-old businessman originally from Derbyshire but lived in Northern Ireland.

The AAIU last year revealed problems with engine number two 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 stated that the captain took the plane’s power controls seconds before it crashed.