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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Tributes to Thai air crash victim
Aaron Toland
Aaron Toland and his friend were on their way to Australia
Tributes have been paid to a Northern Ireland man killed in plane crash at a Thai tourist resort.

Aaron Toland, 22, from Londonderry, died in the crash at Phuket airport. His friend Christopher Cooley, also from Derry, is critically ill.

The pair had been planning to spend a year in Australia. The parents of both young men are on their way to Phuket.

A third man, Ashley Harrow from Moira, County Down, survived Sunday's crash and is said to be recovering well.

Derry priest Father Michael Canny said the two families were absolutely devastated.

"They just can't believe that the boys left full of hope and enthusiasm and exuberance on Thursday," Fr Canny said.

Witnesses saw smoke billowing from the plane
Witnesses saw smoke billowing from the plane

"Now two or three days later this terrible news has come."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness who knows both families described Aaron Toland's death as a "terrible tragedy".

There were 123 passengers and seven crew on board the flight from Bangkok when it crashed on landing in poor weather at Phuket Airport on Sunday. At least 89 people were killed.

Eight of the survivors are thought to be British.

There were four Irish people on board the plane. Three are being treated for their injuries and one is still missing.

Irishman John O'Donnell was among those who escaped.

"You could tell there was a problem. The plane was flying around trying to land. It was making some noises and it was bad rain," he said.

Shock at local death in plane crash

NI death in Thai crash confirmed
17 Sep 07 |  Northern Ireland
Dozens killed in Thai plane crash
16 Sep 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Air disasters timeline
18 Jul 07 |  Special Reports

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