50 Years Later Cobh Man Still Looks For Closure Following Ireland’s Worst Air Tragedy

By Seamus Whelehan


In the 50 years since the Tuskar Rock Air crash, Cobh man Jerome McCormack still looks for answers.
Jerome’s brother Niall was one of 61 who died on board Aer Lingus flight 712 when it crashed en route from Cork to London.
Niall was flying from Cork to Heathrow and onto Switzerland for a job interview.
The aircraft named St. Phelim, a Vickers Viscount 803, crashed into the sea off Tuskar Rock Lighthouse Wexford shortly after take-off from Cork airport on the 24 March 1968.
The flight departed at 10:32 am that Spring Sunday and continued normally until a call was heard “twelve thousand feet descending spinning rapidly.”
There has been numerous allegations of collusion between the British and Irish Governments in covering up the incident.
Over the years a number of ex-British defence force members have made claims regarding what happened that fatal day.
There have been allegations the viscount’s transponder was not fully operational with the HMS Penelope mistaking it as a practice drone.
Aberporth in west Wales was at the time the most advanced British missile testing station.
A former sailor on board the HMS Penelope an Arethusa-class light cruiser, claimed part of the wreckage was recovered by the British, in an effort to prevent the information getting out, following the incident.
While in 2007 a retired British Air force flying instructor alleged, the crash was caused by a collision with a French built military jet on a training mission with the British Air Corp.
A two year report into the disaster published in 1970, followed by a review in 2,000 and a subsequent report in 2002 has revealed no definitive answers.
To this day mystery still surrounds what happened on that fatal March day to all passengers and crew on board.
Only 14 bodies were recovered from the crash site, Mr McCormack’s brother was not among them.
Jerome believes the incident was a reckless accident, but is insisting the truth is released.
“It’s very suspicious there’s truth not being told about Tuskar Rock.” “It’s unbelievable that a plane went all around south west Wexford and no one saw it, only a few handpicked witnesses” commented Mr McCorkmack.
The wreckage was removed to Balldonell Airodrome in Dublin, where there was one day allowed for anyone who had a concern to view it.
Jerome believes that there still remains part of the debris from the aircraft in the seas around Tusker, which may hold an answer to its downing, with the aid of modern forensics.
This Saturday a memorial service will take place in Cork at 2:30pm where the Shandon bells will ring out 61 times to remember each victim.
A memorial will also take place in Rosslare Harbour where the Irish Navy will bring families to the site of the disaster.