Wednesday September 03 2008 Irish Independant
A PLANE crashed near a national school yesterday, narrowly missing an area where local children play.
Two men were injured as the two-seater light aircraft went down on a roadway behind Colehill NS in Co Longford.
The plane took off from nearby Abbeyshrule airfield shortly before it crashed. The pilot was named as Mark Dolan from Moate, Co Westmeath.
It is believed he may have been trying to land on the road, known as the Long Avenue, when he crashed into a ditch at the front of a house where children play every day.
Abbeyshrule safety officer George Farrar said: "The airfield is only about a mile-and-a-half away.
"It looks like he was going to land on the road but didn't make it. We're flying since 1971 and have an excellent safety record."
Mr Farrar said that the injured men were local and added that Mr Dolan was an experienced flyer.
The plane was a Condor 62b, manufactured in 1968 and registered in Ireland in 2002.
The family in the house escaped unharmed; however, the pilot and passenger of the aircraft were taken to Mullingar Regional Hospital.
One of the men is thought to be seriously injured.
A man living in the house beside the plane crash saw the aircraft going down while standing at his kitchen window just after 3pm.
He helped the two men and alerted emergency services to the scene. Last night, air accident investigators and gardai carried out an examination of the scene.
"My daughter was bringing the kids home from school and I was just after washing up after making a few scones when she came in and said there'd been a plane crash," said a neighbour.
"It could have been much worse, of course we were concerned with the school just up the road. Lucky enough it avoided the house and made for the ditch," she added.
Councillor Mick Cahill, who lives in the area, said the incident had come as a "big shock" to local residents.
"People are well used to planes around here but when something like this happens it's shocking.
"It's just unfortunate that it happened -- the airfield has a great safety record; they run a very good show," he added.