Police probe after two killed in light aircraft crash in Co Down

Two people died in the incident at Newtownards Airport on Tuesday evening.

20 July 2022

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two people in a light aircraft crash in Co Down.

Emergency services attended the incident at Newtownards Airport at 8.20pm on Tuesday.

The police probe is being carried out alongside a separate investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

A police spokesperson said enquiries are continuing on behalf of the coroner.

They have appealed to anyone who was in the area at the time, or who may have any dashcam or other kinds of footage, or any information which could assist us with enquiries, to contact 101 and quote reference number 1932 of 19/07/22.

The two people who died were members of the Ulster Flying Club.

Their names, gender and ages have not yet been released by the authorities.

In a statement the club expressed “great sadness and regret”.

“The incident is being investigated now by specialist investigators from the PSNI and the Air Accident Investigation Branch of the CAA.

“Whilst those investigations are ongoing, we can release no further information or details.

“Our thoughts at this most terrible time are with the families and friends of the two people involved.”

Local political representatives described shock in the community at the tragedy.

DUP MLA Harry Harvey said his thoughts are with the two grieving families and all those associated with the flying club.

“The airfield is part of daily life in Newtownards. It is a valuable and busy facility used by people from a wide area.

“People are shocked by what has happened and the thoughts are with all those affected.

“There will obviously be a detailed investigation carried out and that will help shed light on what exactly occurred in this particular incident.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt said: “The airfield is a fixture of the town, situated right on the edge of the urbanisation, not miles and miles from the town centre.

“So on a daily basis we are all used to seeing light aircraft and helicopters overhead.

“This is, above all, a human tragedy and our thoughts are with the family members and friends who have lost loved ones.”

Alliance Party councillor Vicky Moore lives near the airport and visited the scene following the crash on Tuesday evening.

She said: “It is a huge shock to the community and obviously all our thoughts are with the families of those who have been affected and particularly those that have died in the accident.

“Really the airport here in Newtownards is part of the community, it is very busy, it has been a fixture in the town for a very, very long time.

“Local people are used to the activity at the airport and this will be a terrible shock to them.”

She added: “I live under the flight path, probably about 10-15 minutes’ walk away.

“I was at the scene last night. Police were preventing anyone from getting access to the airport but you could see that a number of emergency vehicles were there.

“This is a very rare occurrence bearing in mind the amount of activity there is at the airport.

“It is mostly flying schools who use it, pleasure flying, small, independent and private aircraft use it.

“The airfield is so popular, it is not expected that something like this would happen.”

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