Co-Pilot’s Partner Talks Of ‘Devastation’ Following Loss
Aviation law specialists at Irwin Mitchell representing the partner of the co-pilot killed in the Cork plane crash last month have revealed their concerns over the “chain of events” which led to the incident.
Following the release of the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit’s preliminary report into the crash, which occurred on February 10th, Irwin Mitchell’s Aviation Law team have raised serious concerns about the actions of the captain during the flight and the rostering of the relatively inexperienced crew.
The team is representing Beth Webster, the “devastated” partner of 27-year-old co-pilot Andrew Cantle who was tragically killed in the crash.
Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and Partner in the Irwin Mitchell Aviation Law team said: “Following our initial analysis of the crash report, we have very serious concerns over the decision taken to roster Andrew ( a newly qualified co-pilot) alongside a Captain who had only recently qualified as a Captain on the Metroliner aircraft.
“The evidence highlighted in the report suggests that there were several points when it would have been best practice for the Captain, who for some reason had decided not to pilot the aircraft, to take control from his less experienced colleague. The Captain had ultimate responsibility for the safety of the aircraft and everyone on board and it is he who has the responsibility for making key decisions about safety.
“There is a strong argument that taking into account factors including the poor weather conditions and very low visibility, the Captain himself should have been flying the aircraft and the two failed attempts to land before the crash serve to reinforce this.
“More importantly, however, we have major concerns over the failure to follow accepted best practice. The rostering of a relatively inexperienced captain with a very inexperienced co-pilot is bewildering.
“The rostering decision in this case appears to have been made without any adequate consideration of flight safety issues, leading to a classic example of a chain of events which led to an avoidable aviation disaster.”
Discussing her loss, Beth, 25, from York, said: “I am still deeply saddened and devastated about losing my gorgeous Andy. A huge part of my life has been taken away and it is difficult to imagine my future without him in it. We did everything together and had many things planned.
“My heart goes out to all of the other bereaved families and loved ones, my thoughts are with them. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Cork city, including the emergency services both in Ireland and the UK and the Air Crash Investigation team whose conduct has been both professional and exemplary.
“I know that Andy would have done everything in his power to prevent this tragedy from happening, as he was such a caring 'people' person and a natural lifesaver, proved through his past service and commitment to the RNLI. He would have thought nothing about putting his own life on the line to save others.”
Aviation experts at Irwin Mitchell are now awaiting details of the next stage of investigations into the crash, after the report revealed that the AAIU intends to examine flight crew training and “operational aspects” of the flight, as well as the possibility of “regulatory oversight” in events leading up to the crash.
Jim outlined: “We await the final report of the AAIU. We have confidence that the AAIU will work quickly and thoroughly to complete their investigations and to confirm whether any mechanical failure or other technical factor may have played a role in the incident.
“We hope that answers can be provided to our clients and to others affected by this terrible crash. All those injured and the families of those tragically killed will be seeking to ensure that justice is done and that lessons will be learnt so an incident like is not repeated in the future. ”
Beth added: “I would like to thank all of our amazing family and friends for the constant support and love that they have shown. They all know what a fantastic person Andy was and have all helped to raise a huge amount of money in honour of Andy to go towards the Sunderland RNLI. He would have been so proud to help his lifeboat station.
“Unfortunately, I feel that Manx 2's conduct in all of this has been unacceptable, Andy’s parents and myself have yet to hear a word of condolence from any of the senior executives of the Company and they should hang their heads in shame.”