Two people dead in light aircraft crash
Two people have died after a light aircraft crashed in Co Antrim, police have confirmed.
Paramedics, firefighters and an air ambulance helicopter attended the site near Nutts Corner after a Cessna plane crashed and caught fire.
It happened close to a wooded area shortly at around 12.30pm today, two or three miles from Belfast International Airport. A spokeswoman said the aircraft was not operating to or from the airport.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch said it was sending a team to begin an investigation.
PSNI Superintendent Emma Bond said police were "not in a position" to confirm the two victims' identities.
“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. We expect the scene to be held for some time as enquiries are carried out.”
Antrim and Newtownabbey UUP councillor Mervyn Rea told the Irish News he understood the aircraft had been on a training exercise and described the loss of life as "a tragedy".
In a statement the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it had been alerted at 12.23pm and implented its "major incident protocols".
The major incident "was stood down at 12:49," the statement continued.
Nearby roads have been closed.
A Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) spokeswoman said: "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."
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.
We are operating as normal following an incident involving a light aircraft at Loanends 2/3 mls from Airport. The aircraft was not operating into or out of the airport. All further media enquiries should be addressed to @PoliceServiceNI— Belfast Airport (@belfastairport) April 19, 2018
Police and other emergency services are currently in attendance at the scene of a light aircraft crash in the vicinity of Nutts Corner, Crumlin.— PSNI (@PoliceServiceNI) April 19, 2018
There are no further details at this stage.
Currently attending a meeting at Belfast International Airport.— Daniel McCrossan MLA (@McCrossanMLA) April 19, 2018
Difficult news emerging that a small aircraft has crashed.
Reports of serious injuries after the plane, crashed near Nutts Corner roundabout and at 12.20pm.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those involved.
A statement from Belfast International Airport said the aircraft "crashed in the vicinity of Loanends, two-three miles from the airport".
Monitoring situation at the International Airport - tragic circumstances. Thoughts are with all involved.— Pat Catney MLA (@PatCatney) April 19, 2018