Jim Morris

Co-Pilot's Loved Ones Commence Legal Proceedings in Eire on First Annivarsary of Cork Air Crash

The Partner and family speak Of ’12 Months Of Hell’ since the tragedy. By Jim Morris

The partner and family of the co-pilot killed in a plane crash in Cork which also led to the deaths of five other people have spoken of their battle to come to terms with their loss as they begin their fight for justice on the first anniversary of the tragedy.

Andrew Cantle, 27, from Sunderland, who was a newly qualified pilot and had just started his first airline job, was killed when the Fairchild Metroliner aircraft, used by Manx2 and operated by airline Flightline BCN, came down while en route to Cork Airport from Belfast on 10 February 2011. Now, one year on from the crash and days after an interim report by Ireland’s Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIUI) revealed the that the captain took control of the engine power levers for the final approach and that there was a technical problem with one of the engines, aviation lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have commenced legal action in Ireland on behalf of both the co-pilot’s partner Beth Webster and his family.

The team is working with the Dublin law firm Murray Flynn Maguire and has filed the case against Airlada, the Spanish company which provided the aircraft and employed the crew, as well as operator Flightline BCN over the actions of the captain on the flight and decisions made in relation safety oversight of the air operations and crew rostering.

Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and Partner in the law firm’s specialist Aviation Law team, said: “From the outset we have believed that this accident was caused by the actions of the captain and those responsible for rostering a very inexperienced crew together in poor weather conditions.

“The latest interim report provides further confirmation of questionable decisions made by the captain during the flight and also indicates that there were problems with the thrust of one of the engines, due to a faulty sensor, that may have aggravated the perilous situation in which the captain had placed the aircraft.

“We hope that the final report will deal in detail with all captaincy, operational and technical issues that contributed to this accident so that the families and victims can understand the chain of events that lead to this accident. However, the aim of the accident investigation is not to apportion blame, but to determine what caused the accident to improve flight safety.

“As such, on behalf of Beth and Andrew’s family, we have now filed this case in Ireland so that those responsible can be held to account for this wholly avoidable tragedy.

Beth Webster said: “Since the accident my life has been a living nightmare, Andy and I had a bright and promising future together and now I struggle to cope with life without him.

“My friends and family continue to help me through this ordeal, unlike Manx 2, from whom I have yet to hear a single word of condolence despite the fact that Andy was wearing their uniform and flying an aircraft in Manx 2 livery.

“My family, Andy’s family and I have never doubted for a second Andy’s abilities as a pilot and the interim report appears to confirm our strongly held beliefs. I personally would like to see a review of the current Aviation Law in order to prevent any similar tragedies from occurring.”

Andrew’s father John Cantle added: “Andrew was a brilliant son, brilliant brother, brilliant pilot and aviator who touched his dream. Andrew had many friends through university and flying school who are young keen pilots.

“We cannot bring back what we have lost but, if this stops other families going through what we have had to this year and in future years then at least a part of Andrew will be remembered.”

About the Author

Jim Morris is a Partner and aviation expert in the London office of Irwin Mitchel. Irwin Mitchel is one of the largest law firms in the United Kingdom.

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