Irish plane crash victim was Sunderland RNLI volunteer

image captionMr Cantle had taken part in 65 emergency missions

The co-pilot killed in a plane crash in Ireland along with five others, was previously a lifeboat volunteer in Sunderland, it has emerged.

Andrew Cantle, 27, was travelling in the Manx2 plane from Belfast which came down in thick fog and burst into flames on Thursday.

Investigators are looking into the cause of accident.

Mr Cantle joined Sunderland RNLI in 2000 and spent eight years at the station before moving to York.

While there, he started his career as an airline pilot.

Mr Cantle had only been with airline Manx2 for a few months.

The RNLI said he had taken part in 65 emergency missions and helped rescue 66 people.

Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: "Everyone involved with the lifeboat station is in total shock about the tragic loss of a very close and dear friend."

"While serving as a volunteer, Andy was always keen to learn new skills and always did everything to a very high standard, whether that was taking part in a rescue mission or helping promote the RNLI at a fundraising or promotional event.

"Since leaving the crew in 2008 he has kept in constant contact with the crew and was a regular visitor to the station whenever he was back in the area.

image captionThe aircraft had two crew and ten passengers on board

"Our sympathies, best wishes and support go to his parents, family and girlfriend at this extremely difficult time."

Mr Cantle first became involved with the RNLI after taking up community service through the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

After completing the scheme in 2001, he stayed on as volunteer lifeboat crew before being promoted to Inshore Lifeboat Helmsman, a position he held until he left in 2008.

The wreckage of the Manx2 plane remained at Cork on Friday, but its two flight recorders have been removed.

The plane, which was travelling from Belfast, crashed and killed six people, leaving another six injured.

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