Ireland: 6 killed as Belfast flight crashes on runway


At least six people were killed when a plane carrying 12 people from Belfast crashed in heavy fog at Cork Airport, Ireland, on Thursday, in the country's deadliest aviation accident in 40 years.

The aircraft, a turboprop operated by Isle of Man-based airline, made at least two attempts to land before overturning and catching fire on the runway. It had been traveling from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang. The aircraft, an 18-seat Fairchild Metroliner manufactured in San Antonio, Texas, in 1992, was said to have burst into flames. Debris was scattered onto the runway and over a wide area.

Cork County Council, which oversees emergency services, said six people were killed and six others injured. It said two passengers had to be cut from the wreckage, and all six survivors — among them passengers with severe burns — were at Cork University Hospital. was founded in 2006 and operates flights linking Ireland, Britain and the Isle of Man. It opened the Belfast-Cork route six months ago.

Thursday's crash was the deadliest in Irish aviation since 1968, when an Aer Lingus flight from Cork to London crashed into the Irish Sea, killing all 61 on board.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have spoken of their shock over the crash of Flight BPS 7100, a scheduled daily flight from Belfast to Cork, which left George Best Belfast City Airport at 0812 GMT.

"This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with the families of the bereaved," Robinson said, according to the Belfast Herald. "My thoughts are also with the injured and I hope that they will make a full and speedy recovery."

McGuiness 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."

The Catholic bishop of Cork, John Buckley, comforted relatives of the dead and injured who had been in the terminal at the time of the crash. Buckley said he "offered them the prayers of all Irish people at this sad time."