Northern Ireland: two die in light aircraft crash in County Antrim

Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent
The aircraft, thought to be a Cessna, came down between Nutts Corner and Loanends. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Two people have died after a light aircraft crashed in County Antrim, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has said.

The PSNI said: “Police can confirm two people have died after a light aircraft crash near Nutts Corner, Crumlin, on Thursday 19 April.”

The small plane, thought to be a Cessna, came down between Nutts Corner and Loanends, about two miles from Belfast international airport.

Three fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles attended the scene at about 12.35pm .

A spokesman at the airport said the plane had not taken off from its runways, adding that none of its flights had been affected by the incident.

Roy Divers, who lives near the crash site said: “When I looked out the window I could see this small aircraft nosediving behind the trees near the house. I knew it was going to crash so I went outside and got into the car.”

After arriving in a field behind the trees, Divers said he saw that the two-passenger plane had crashed. “I could only make out the pilot and he was in a very bad way. His head was severely injured and his upper body was on fire; the flames had burned off all his clothes.

“The plane was on fire and I just stood feeling utterly helpless about not being able to do anything as there was no water near to even try to put out the flames around the front.

“It was only when the emergency services arrived that I was informed there was another person inside. I didn’t hold out any hope for either of them.”

The Social Democratic and Labour party’s assembly member for Lagan Valley, Pat Catney, said: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the incident. I understand that the air ambulance and Northern Ireland fire and rescue service are at the scene. Thinking of all of those involved at this difficult time.”