An accountancy firm which lost one of its partners in the Manx2 air crash in 2011 said it is “hard to believe” a decade has passed since the disaster.
Pat Cullinan (45), from Omagh, Co Tyrone, was a partner in KPMG in Belfast. He was one of six people who died when a plane from Belfast City airport crashed in foggy conditions at Cork airport on February 10, 2011.
The other victims included Co Tyrone businessman Brendan McAleese (39), a cousin of former Irish president Mary McAleese’s husband Martin; Michael Evans (51), the deputy harbour master at Belfast Harbour; Belfast-based businessman Richard Noble (48); pilot Jordi Gola Lopez (31), from Spain, and co-pilot Andy Cantle (27), from the north east of England.
Six passengers survived.
Johnny Hanna, Partner in Charge of KPMG in Northern Ireland, said: “It is hard to believe that 10 years has passed since that tragic day”.
“Pat was an exceptional friend and colleague to many in KPMG,” he said.
“We remember Pat each year through the ‘Pat Cullinan Memorial Medal’ which is awarded to the best performing Northern Ireland candidate in the Chartered Institute of Taxation final exams and it’s something we are very proud to support.”
In 2015, Belfast Harbour honoured Captain Michael Evans by naming one of its boats after him. It is understood that no public commemoration has been planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the crash, Manx2 scrapped its twice-daily Belfast to Cork route. The business was bought out in December 2012.
In April 2011, pilot Oliver Lee, who had formerly flown Manx2 services between Belfast City and Cork, took his own life.
He had left the airline days before the accident to join British airline Jet2.com. His father David said his son “felt strongly” that if he had been there “nobody would have died”.
The plane crashed on its third landing attempt.
A report into the crash later found that the crew’s continued attempts to land in poor visibility were a significant factor in the accident.
But the report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit also highlighted concerns around tiredness and fatigue on the part of the crew and inadequate training.
In 2014, an inquest returned verdicts of accidental death.
Laurence Wilson, who was one of six survivors, recalled how he thought his “number was up”.
Mr Wilson had been sitting near the back of the plane and escaped without serious injury.
Following the inquest, he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme he feared being crushed by the plane’s roof.
“The initial impact, although it’s really only split seconds, you did feel the roof of the plane,” he said. “Because the plane was upside down, the roof was actually crushing us up in, so it was pushing our heads into our bodies, we were bent backwards.
“That was probably the worst bit.”
— to www.irishnews.com