Two dead in parachute light aircraft crash

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The pilot, believed to be from the United Kingdom, and a seven-year-old local boy were on board when the plane went down in bog land in Co Offaly on Sunday afternoon.

The bodies of the victims were removed from crash site - a bog near Clonbullogue - following a six-hour operation last night.

The pilot was recognised as a vastly experienced flying instructor.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit was due to carry out an examination of the plane at its site in Gormanston, Co Meath to try and uncover the cause of the crash.

It is understood that the crashed plane was a Cessna Caravan.

The flight was carrying 16 parachutists from the Irish Parachute Club and took off from Clonbullogue Airfield, around 12km south of Edenderry, at 2.35pm yesterday.

A Garda spokesman said: "All 16 parachutists made their jump from the craft".

But an Air Accident investigation continuing this morning will now focus on the circumstances that led to the death of an English pilot and a 7 year old boy in an accident in County Offaly at lunchtime on Sunday.

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This is the second aircraft crash to occur in Ireland in less than a fortnight.

The pilot, who was from the United Kingdom, had been hired by the Irish Parachute Club since their own plane was being serviced.

The crash happened a few kilometres away in bog land near Edenderry.

The crashed plane had been partially submerged in water and was embedded in the ground after crashing at speed, leading to an exhaustive recovery mission.

"People would be over there all the time, especially at weekends in the summer, a lot of people parachuting and a lot of fundraising jumpers".

"It's a great shock to hear of an accident like that happening".

Another Offaly councillor Noel Cribbin said: "This is a big shock to the area".