Six dead in Cork Airport crash

Three British citizens, two Irish people and a Spaniard were killed in a plane crash at Cork Airport today.

Of the six survivors, two of whom walked away from the mangled wreckage of the 18-seater turboprop aircraft, two are British citizens, two are from Northern Ireland and the others are from Waterford and Cork in the Irish Republic, Garda sources confirmed.



The dead were understood to include the Spanish and British crew.



Another of the dead was a partner in the accountancy firm KPMG, Pat Cullinan, originally from Omagh, Co Tyrone.



Terence O'Rourke, KPMG's managing partner, paid tribute to his colleague, who had been with the firm for more than 20 years.



"Pat Cullinan was an extremely talented professional and a real gentleman," Mr O'Rourke said.



"He was highly regarded by all of his colleagues and clients and his tragic and untimely death has come as a shock to everyone in the firm, especially to those in our Belfast office and to all who knew Pat as an exceptional friend and colleague."



Mr Cullinan joined KPMG's Belfast office in 1989 and qualified in 1993 before working in London for several years and transferring to Dublin in 2002. He was appointed a partner in 2005.



The only woman on the flight, who was from the UK, survived.



It is understood another of the men who died was a businessman from Cookstown, Co Tyrone.



The businessman was named locally as Brendan McAleese, owner of Central Laundries.



Health chiefs in the Republic said four people injured in the crash landing were in a serious condition and two were described as "comfortable".



One of the survivors has been named as Donal Walsh, a volunteer for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in Ireland.



A spokesman for the organisation said: "I can confirm that one of our Relay (intern) workers, Donal Walsh, was a passenger on the aeroplane that crashed on landing at Cork Airport this morning.



"He miraculously walked away from this tragic accident, escaping with minor injuries. He is in hospital at the moment receiving follow-up treatment."



Mr Walsh had been returning from Christian events in Belfast.



Director of the organisation Adam Jones said he received a reassuring text message from Mr Walsh shortly after the incident.



"I am fine with very minor injuries all things considered. Thank God," it said.



Leaving Cork University Hospital, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said he had spoken with two survivors who walked away from the wreckage and who remained under medical observation.



"They are in good spirits and they are obviously very grateful for the care they are receiving here at the hospital," he said.



Mr Cowen said it was the first air crash of its kind at a state airport in Ireland.



He praised the emergency services for extinguishing the blaze which engulfed the plane within four minutes.



"I think that had an impact on ensuring that people came out of the accident," he said.



Mr Cowen added that it was a very sad day for everyone involved.

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