Six killed as Belfast plane crashes in Cork
Six people have been killed and six others injured after a small plane travelling from Belfast crashed in fog at Cork Airport.
The Manx2 commuter flight with 10 passengers and two crew on board crashed on the runway on its third attempt to land before 1000 GMT.
The plane overturned and burst into flames. The six injured are being treated at Cork University Hospital.
Four are described as being in a serious condition. Two are comfortable.
Flight No FLT400C, a scheduled daily flight from Belfast to Cork, left George Best Belfast City Airport at 0750 GMT.
People living close to where the crash happened said they heard the plane flying overhead near Blarney, outside Cork city and it sounded "like it was in trouble".
A woman who was driving her husband to the airport said they were turned back by Gardai.
"There was a huge sense of urgency and it was obvious that something big had happened," she said.
She said that a police officer told her husband "he wouldn't be flying anywhere today".
Another eyewitness who was travelling in a taxi said he could see that the plane must have left the runway. He said people waiting at Cork airport were frantic.
Tom O'Sullivan, from Cork County Council, said a major emergency disaster plan had been activated.
"I understand the aircraft overturned on landing and caught fire. The fire is now out," he said.
The Barcelona-based operator Flightline BCN confirmed that the Fairchild Metroliner was one of its aircraft.
In a statement, Manx2 said: "The aircraft left Belfast City Airport at 07:50 GMT this morning and was due to land in Cork at 09:00am.
"Due to weather conditions at Cork Airport the aircraft tried to land twice, and the incident took place on its third approach.
"We are working with all relevant authorities to establish what happened.
"We would like to express our sincere sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident."
A family and friends reception centre has been established at Belfast City Airport. It is being run by the police and Belfast Trust Emergency Response team. A casualty information bureau has also been set up at Cork airport.
An emergency help line has been set up on 00353 214 328820.
Chief executive of Belfast City Airport Brian Ambrose said passenger details from the ill-fated flight had been passed to police.
Mr Ambrose said the airport had been contacted by a number of people who were concerned for friends or relatives.
"At the minute, we have to emphasise that this is a tragic set of circumstances. A number of people have lost their lives and the families who have been affected are our priority."
President Mary McAleese expressed her deep shock and sadness at news of the crash
A spokeswoman said: "The President said her thoughts and prayers, and those of all the people of Ireland, are with the families of the deceased and the survivors at this very difficult time.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson also said he was shocked to hear of the crash.
"This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with the families of the bereaved. My thoughts are also with the injured and I hope that they will make a full and speedy recovery," he said.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said: "My thoughts are with all of those affected by this morning' s crash, including the families and friends of those who have died.
"I also want to send my best wishes and those of the government, to all of those who survived the crash and are being treated in hospital at present."
The accident will be investigated by the Air Accident Unit of the Department of Transport.BBC News