AVIATION bosses failed to adequately monitor the operators of a plane which crashed, killing a North East pilot and five other people, investigators have found.
Andrew Cantle, from Sunderland, died when he was the co-pilot on the Manx2.com service, from Belfast, which crashed in dense fog at Cork Airport three years ago.
Air accident inspectors identified nine significant issues, including fatigue of the flight crew, which contributed to the tragedy
A wing of the turboprop Fairchild Metroliner clipped the ground as the pilots tried to abort a third landing attempt in February 2011, and it crashed in soft ground next to the runway.
The service was operated by Flightline. The tickets for the flight were sold by an Isle of Man-based company Manx2 and the aircraft and flight crew supplied by a Spanish company.
In its final report, Ireland’s Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) said there was inadequate oversight of the remote service by Flightline and by the Spanish civil aviation authority.
It also found inappropriate pairing of flight crew members and inadequate command training.
It said the approach to Cork continued in conditions of poor visibility below required limits, that the descent continued below the decision height without adequate visual reference, and that there was unco-ordinated operation of the flight and engine controls when a go-around was attempted.
The family of Mr Cantle, who was from Moorside, Sunderland, are taking legal action against FlightlineBCN, based out of Barcelona, which was granted the Air Operator Certificate to run the service, and Airlada, which leased the plane and crew.
A number of other lawsuits are expected to be launched now the final report has been published, including from relatives of passengers and relatives of the flight crew who died.
In a statement, investigators said: “The AAIU recognises that this is a difficult time for those families who lost loved ones, and the surviving passengers who suffered injuries in this tragic accident. Our deepest sympathies to all concerned.”
The AAIU said there were systemic deficiencies at the operational, organisational and regulatory levels including pilot training, scheduling of crews, maintenance and inadequate oversight. Eleven safety recommendations have been made as a result of the investigation.