Two people dead after Co Antrim light aircraft crash

Two people have died after a light aircraft crashed in Co Antrim, police said.

Paramedics, firefighters and an air ambulance helicopter attended the site near Nutts Corner after the Cessna plane caught fire.

The incident happened close to a wooded area shortly after noon on Thursday, two or three miles from Belfast International Airport. A spokeswoman said the aircraft was not operating to or from there.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said no patients were taken from the scene. It put its major incident protocols into action but the incident was stood down at 12:49.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch sent a team to Crumlin.

The plane ended up sitting in a grassy area in the middle of a wood. Part of it was covered by what appeared to be a blue tarpaulin.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Superintendent Emma Bond said: "Emergency services received a report of a crash shortly after 12.30pm this afternoon. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) will examine the scene to determine the cause of the crash.

"Cordons have been placed in the area surrounding the aircraft to maintain the integrity of the scene as the investigation continues. I would ask that the cordons are respected by all and directions from officers at the scene are heeded.

"We are not in a position to confirm the identity of the deceased at this time."

She expected the scene to be held for some time as enquiries are carried out.

A statement from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said: "No patients were taken from the scene and the major incident was stood down at 12:49."

Nearby roads were closed.

The NIAS spokeswoman added: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a call at 12:23 this afternoon following reports that a light aircraft had come down near Nutts Corner."

She added: "NIAS implemented its major incident protocols in response to this incident and one rapid response paramedic, three emergency ambulance crews and four officers were dispatched to the incident.

"The charity air ambulance was also tasked."

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) statement confirmed the emergency services were in attendance.

The flight was not connected to either of the two Belfast airports or an airfield in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, spokesmen confirmed.

Newtownards airport, where the Ulster Flying Club is based, said it would make no comment.

A witness told BBC NI he tried to help.

"It was not a nice sight, my thoughts are with the families of the two guys."

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