Niall Hore, of Hore’s Stores in Wexford town, had not long arrived at the beach at Carnsore Point with the intention of doing a spot of fishing when the drama unfolded around him.
"I was standing looking out over the beach and I didn’t even really hear it (the plane) until it was very close,” he said. “It passed overhead and was flying very low over the rocks at the point before coming in to the tideline and crashing down, stopping dead, into the sand.”
Scarcely able to believe his eyes, the next few minutes were a blur for Niall as he and two fellow fishermen from Northern Ireland immediately called emergency services and rushed to the wreckage to see if everyone was okay.
"I was halfway down the beach to the plane when I realised, ‘I’ve no idea what I’m going to see here’,” Niall said, reflecting on the frightening experience. “We ran down and two people were out of the plane and were shouting for us to call 112. The two people in the back of the plane were able to get out and had dragged out the pilot and co-pilot and they were propped up against the plane.”
Miraculously, none of the injuries sustained by the crew of the small passenger plane were life-threatening, but they were still in a lot of pain and a lot of shock.
"The plane was very bent up at the front and I knew that the pilots’ legs must have been in a bad way,” said Niall. “We just tried to keep them talking to make sure they were OK. We asked them where they came from and they said they took off from Waterford and that they were on their last run doing marine surveys in the area.
"One of the women was pretty bad and was covered in blood and not saying much, so we tried to talk to her to make sure she was OK. As it turned out, one of the crew was from Northern Ireland and was from the same area as the two other fishermen who were on the beach.”
Niall added his voice to the tributes being paid to the pilot for his excellent split-second decision making. He said it could easily have been much, much worse.
"He did very well to get it down just at the shore,” he said. “I’m just glad he didn’t land further out in the water because the current is unreal there and it would have been very hard to get to them. It definitely wasn’t an easy thing for him to do. I’m just really glad that everyone is going to be alright.”