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BBC's Ireland correspondent, Kevin Connolly
Report may resolve bitter mystery over the Tuskar air crash
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Wednesday, 19 April, 2000, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Irish air crash report due

Wreckage was recovered - but many bodies remained lost
A report into an air-crash off Ireland's south-east coast more than 30 years ago may cast new light on what has been a bitter controversy.

A total of 61 passengers were killed when Aer Lingus flight 712 crashed in the Irish Sea off the coast of Wexford near Tuskar Rock light-house in 1968.

Relatives of the passengers and crew killed have said they had a document in their possession which showed the flight had been accidentally hit during a missile exercise.



Memorial remembers the 61 victims of the crash
They also said the document showed that bodies had been removed from the scene and secretly cremated.

Local historian Nicholas Furlong said locals are convinced that the crash was a result of a mistake during a British live firing exercise in the Irish Sea.

"It was absolutely believed to have been a military missile of some kind, possibly in target practice.

"That is broadly the perception until the present day," he said.

The Ministry of Defence has denied these claims.

In a statement, it said:"There was no involvement by the MoD or MoD assets in the crash."

The Republic of Ireland's public affairs minister, Mary O'Rourke, commissioned a report into the incident following a meeting with former UK transport minister Glenda Jackson last year.



Hilary Noonan: Her father never returned home
At the time, it was stressed that the inquiry would not be a new investigation, but a re-examination of existing documentation.

Hilary Noonan lost her father in the disaster but, 32 years after the incident, she is still seeking closure.

"Dad left Cork airport that day and never returned and never got to where he was going to.

"We have no body to bury, he just disappeared," she said.

"Once we have a reason for that accident that day, I can say for myself anyway that will give me closure."

A memorial remembering those who were killed in the incident has been erected in a cemetery in County Wexford.

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