A YOUNG co-pilot from York was among those killed in the Cork plane crash which left six dead and a further half dozen injured, it has emerged.
Former RNLI volunteer Andrew Cantle, 27, moved to the city in 2008 and had only been with Manx2 for a fortnight when the plane he was helping pilot crashed on landing at Cork Airport on Thursday in thick fog and burst into flames.
Last night as air accident investigators were dismantling the wreckage of the plane, Mr Cantle’s grief-stricken mother spoke of her loss, describing her son as “an all-action hero” devoted to a flying career.
“That’s all he has ever wanted to do in his entire life,” she said.
“He was just like an all-action hero. He just wanted to do anything like that. All he wanted to do was commercial flying.
“From being six or seven years old that was his total life.”
Mrs Cantle revealed her husband John saw the first reports of the accident while on the internet but initially thought their son was safe.
It was only after ringing Manx2, that they discovered their son was dead.
“Immediately my husband thought that it was not Andrew because he told us he was due to do a Royal Mail flight,” she said.
“That was the one glimmer of hope that we were clinging to.”
“The lifeboat was a dangerous thing and that was voluntary, but he was so trained up in the lifeboat and he had all his qualifications for the pilot.
“He obviously knew the risks, but we knew the risks with RNLI. He used to go off in the middle of the night and went out to sea to save somebody.”
Mr Cantle moved to York from Sunderland and lived in the city with his girlfriend Beth Webster, who he met at Salford University while studying aviation technology and pilot studies.
He joined Manx2 after his previous employer, Aeronova, could only offer him a temporary contract, and moved to the commuter service after they began hiring English-speaking pilots.
He previously started volunteering with Sunderland RNLI in 2000 under the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and spent eight years at the station before moving to Yorkshire.
The RNLI said Mr Cantle had taken part in 65 emergency missions and helped rescue 66 people.
Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said lifeboat colleagues were in deep shock.
“Everyone involved with the lifeboat station is in total shock about the tragic loss of a very close and dear friend,” Mr Nicholson said.
“While serving as a volunteer, Andy was always keen to learn new skills and always did everything to a very high standard, whether that was taking part in a rescue mission or helping promote the RNLI at a fundraising or promotional event.
“Since leaving the crew in 2008 he has kept in constant contact with the crew and was a regular visitor to the station whenever he was back in the area.
“Our sympathies, best wishes and support go to his parents, family and girlfriend at this extremely difficult time.”
Among the other victims were Brendan McAleese, a 39-year-old relative of Ireland’s president, Pat Cullinan, a partner in leading accountancy firm KPMG in Belfast, Captain Michael Evans, deputy harbour master in Belfast, Derbyshire man Richard Noble and the Spanish pilot, Jordi Gola Lopez.
Four of the injured passengers remain in a serious condition in Cork University Hospital, with two in intensive care.