herald

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Investigators begin the search for cause of tragedy

AVIATION engineers are set to reconstruct the doomed Manx2 flight after discovering the plane's two black boxes.

The painstaking examinations of the flight voice recorder and flight data recorder were underway today.

Experts from the Department of Transport were also interviewing eye-witnesses, air traffic controllers and other staff at Cork Airport.

According to Paddy Judge, of the Air Accident Investigation Unit, the authorities should be able to accurately piece together the plane's final moments.

One of the two recorders should be able to tell authorities about the condition of the plane's engines, its speed and altitude in the moments before impact.

"The cockpit voice recorder would record sounds in the cockpit, what people were saying, transmissions, the public address system, etc," explained Mr Judge.

"Once we take them back to our base in Dublin, we will download them and have a look and then see what we get out of them.

"Usually we can get fairly good information out of those things. We can reconstruct the flight with a certain amount of accuracy," he said.

Mr Judge noted that contrary to earlier reports, there is just one investigation into the accident which is being overseen by the Department of Transport.

However, that team will be joined by accredited representatives from Spain, the US and the UK.

"We gather all that expertise together," said Mr Judge, who described it as "an international investigation".

Stage one of the investigation was underway today and includes an inspection of the aircraft, the scene and interviews with survivors, witnesses and engineers.

Experts will then analyse this information before coming forward with safety recommendations.

Mr Judge said that if the investigation took more than a year, his team would publish an interim report.

"Our job is to produce an independent report. We are not interested in liability," he said.

The Herald can reveal that the plane -- the only one of its type operated by Manx2 -- had undergone a scheduled service within the past fortnight.

hnews@herald.ie

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