TRIBUTES have been paid to a young boy who died alongside the pilot of a small plane during a parachuting event in Co. Offaly.
Kacper Kacprzak, 7, from Dublin, died along with UK pilot Niall Bowditch when their Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft nosedived into a forest near Clonbullogue, at about 2.30pm on Sunday.
It's understood that the family of Mr Bowditch, 47, are set to travel from Britain to formally identify his body.
Kacper was from a Polish background and lived in Blanchardstown with his father Krysztof 'Kris' Kacprzak - an instructor with the Irish Parachute Club.
Kris is understood to have jumped from the plane shortly before it encountered difficulties and "torpedoed" to the ground.
The Irish Parachute Club closed down their social media accounts following the incident, but said in a statement: “The board of directors, members and friends of the Irish Parachute Club are deeply saddened at the death of the occupants of the aircraft that was operating on behalf of the club.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.
“We would like to thank the Air Accident Investigation Unit and the Emergency Services who are continuing their investigation at this very difficult time.”
An online fundraiser has so far raised over €17,000 to help the Kacprzak family.
The GoFundMe page reads: “After this sad news yesterday of Billy and Kacper this is a sad time for us all but I think us skydiving family and the wider community should come together and help support them.
“I myself have a son the same age as Kacper who loves planes, having met him at the club he was such a beautiful boy who would touch anyone’s heart.
“Please everyone lets support their family at this tragic time. Every bit counts so no amount is too small or no amount is too big. Lets show this family what they mean to us all.
“Please share this go fund page with all you family and friends.”
The G-KNYS Cessna plane had been scheduled to land at Clonbullogue Airfield but lost contact shortly after 2pm.
It was registered in 2017 and had been flying with Sky Dive South Coast from Old Sarum Aerodrome near the city of Salisbury, England.
Offaly resident Jimmy Slattery witnessed the crash while out walking his dog near Edenderry on Sunday.
"It came vertically down, there was no wavering or anything," he told RTÉ’s Nine O’Clock News.
"The engine was roaring. When it got near tree line I could see the tail move a bit. I heard a thump then."
Air crash investigators were last night continuing to examine the wreckage, which is understood to be partially buried in bogland.
A statement from the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit said: “The AAIU deployed three inspectors on being notified of the accident on 13 May 2018.
“The AAIU team returned to the accident site this morning at 08.00 hrs to complete a site survey and co-ordinate removal of the aircraft wreckage.
“The aircraft wreckage will be brought to the AAIU facility at Gormanston Military Camp for further technical examination later today.”