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30th Apr 2021

Deaths of seven-year-old boy and pilot in Co Offaly ruled accidental

Sarah McKenna Barry

The tragic accident happened in May 2018.

Authorities have ruled that the 2018 death of a child and a 47-year-old man during a skydiving excursion was an accident.

Seven year-old Kacper Kacprzak was sitting beside experienced Neil Bodwith at the time of the plane crash.

Kacper’s father was one of the 16 skydivers who jumped from the aircraft shortly before the accident in Co. Offaly.

The Somerset Coroner’s Court in Taunton determined that both Kacper and Mr Bodwith were fatally injured when the plane crashed into a bog near Ballaghassan.

The investigation came to the conclusion that the pilot lost control of the aircraft which resulted in the crash.

Kacper’s parents had given him permission to travel in the plane during the excursion. He had been on board during previous flights.

Senior coroner Tony Williams said:

“The aircraft was destroyed but there was no fire and both the pilot and child passenger were fatally injured.

“The investigation determined that the probable cause of the accident was a loss of control in a steeply banked left-hand turn, leading to a rapid loss of altitude.”

Mr Williams added that four safety recommendations have been made following the investigation.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit in the Republic of Ireland launched an inquest into the incident and made a series of safety recommendations.

The Irish Parachute Club now prohibits its aircrafts from carrying passengers unless they are instrumental to the flight.

Following the tragic accident, Kacper’s school principal paid a touching tribute to the child.

Mr Kieran Lyons described him as a “happy, smiling young boy, always enthusiastic and interested in learning”.

He added that everyone at Scoil an Chroí Ró Naofa Íosa was “shocked and saddened” to learn of his passing.

Shortly after the plane crash, a GoFundMe was set up to raise money for the families of Kacper and Neil.