Stephen Annett, Andrew Burden and Hugh McKnight were from Annalong
Rapidly deteriorating weather and pressure to find a landing spot may have led to the deaths of three friends in a plane crash, a report has said.
Pilot Hugh McKnight, 53, a retired police officer, Steven Annett, 25, and Andrew Burden, 24, died when their light plane crashed in County Down.
The three friends from Annalong were returning from the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races on 12 June 2009.
The plane was unable to land at Mourne Flying Club and crashed near Kilkeel.
An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report published on Thursday said: "He (the pilot) diverted to a nearby airfield but, in making a tight turn to the right, the nose of the aircraft dropped, probably as a result of stalling, and the aircraft crashed at Kilkeel on the evening of June 12 last year."
The investigators said Mr McKnight was on the return journey of the trip and it was not clear whether he had considered the weather forecast for the area.
"The conditions had been suitable earlier and it is possible that he assumed they would remain so," the report said.
"In the event, the weather deteriorated rapidly to give actual conditions close to the worst conditions forecast.
"It is likely that as he approached the airfield near Kilkeel, he was flying in a light drizzle, under a low cloud base.
"With very limited alternate options, it is also possible that the pilot felt under pressure to land quickly due to the worsening weather."
The air crash was the second in the area in a fortnight. Two men survived the previous crash.