An investigation into the crash of a Manx2 flight which killed six passengers has ruled that a lack of oversight by Spain’s air safety authority contributed to the crash.
The report also blamed bad decisions by the crew for the incident which saw a Fairchild SA 227-BC Metro IIIcrash at Cork Airport in dense fog after travelling from Belfast in February 2011.
The pilot and co-pilot were both killed as well as four passengers, making it Ireland’s worst aviation disaster for almost 50 years.
The final report has now been published by the Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Irish Department of Transport (AAIU) and states that the primary causes of the accident were decisions made by the Flightline crew in adverse weather conditions.
The report says the crew did not give adequate consideration to the weather conditions in Cork.
It also states this was compounded by inappropriate crew rostering by the operator and a significant lack of oversight by the Spanish air safety authority.
Captain of the flight, Jordi Sola Lopez, 31, from Barcelona, had only been promoted four days before the crash, while the co-pilot, Andrew Cantle from Sunderland, had joined the airline just three weeks before it.
The report said that both the captain and his co-pilot had insufficient rest before starting duty on the day of the crash, meaning they were likely to be suffering from fatigue at the time of the accident.
It goes on to describe their pairing on the flight as ‘inappropriate’.
They breached minimum weather standards during each of three attempts to land the plane, a Fairchild SA 227-BC Metro III, and the captain performed a manoeuvre, reversing engine thrust, which is prohibited in flight.
The report describes how at 9.50am on February 10, while on a third approach to Cork in low visibility conditions, control of the aircraft was lost during an attempted go-around.
The aircraft impacted on the runway surface, inverted and came to rest in soft ground to the right of the runway.
Post impact fires occurred in both engines which were extinguished.
The investigation determined that the probable cause was ‘loss of control during attempted go-around initiated below decision height (200 feet) in instrument meteorological conditions’.
The report examined the relationship between the Spanish owners of the plane, Air Lada, the operator, Flightline and Manx2.com, describing Flightline’s supervision of the service as well as the oversight of Flightline by Spanish air safety regulator AESA as both being contributory causes of the crash.
Manx2 ceased trading in December 2012 and is now in liquidation, but its former director and employees continued to assist the AAIU with the investigation.
A statement from Manx2 said: ‘The devastating impact of the tragic accident at Cork three years ago is not something that the passing of time has diminished and the thoughts and sympathies of all those involved are first and foremost with the families of those who lost their lives and those who were injured.’