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Plane came down in fog and drizzle

A plane crash in which three TT fans died was probably caused by bad weather, according to accident investigators.

The United Kingdom's Air Accidents Investigation Branch has published its report into the crash, in which Hugh McKnight, Steven Annett and Andrew Burden lost their lives.

The AAIB says 54-year-old retired police officer Mr McKnight was flying the other men, both 24, back to County Down on June 12 last year.

But fog and drizzle covered the airfield near Mourne Flying Club, meaning Mr McKnight couldn't see clearly where he was trying to land.

The report says the single-engined aircraft set off from Ronaldsway with Mr McKnight, an experienced pilot, in charge.

About 40 minutes after setting off, the plane approached the runway in Northern Ireland and began turning right, at which point it stalled.

Eyewitnesses said it plunged into the ground and exploded shortly after 8pm. All three men died either during the impact or in the resulting fire.

The AAIB says it couldn’t find any evidence of faults on board the aircraft, or in the way it had been flown.

It concludes the pilot's tight turn, along with a reduction in power as he came in to land, probably caused the stall, and Mr McKnight may have felt under pressure to land quickly.

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