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The remains of the victims are being removed to the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore where a postmortem is due to take place.

The light aircraft left Clonbullogue Airfield with 16 parachutists on board - all of whom completed their jumps from the plane.

The plane came down between Daingean and Edenderry after taking off from the Irish Parachute Club in Clonbullogue this afternoon.

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The young boy's father was one of 16 parachute jumpers who had exited the plane before the tragic crash.

Witnesses said that all the skydivers made their jumps shortly before the plane crashed.

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A garda spokesman said there were two people on board, the pilot, who is believed to be a United Kingdom national, and the young boy (7).

This is the second aircraft crash to occur in Ireland in less than a fortnight.

Local councillor Eddie Fitzpatrick said the airfield had a long established reputation for parachuting.

Edenderry-based independent Councillor Noel Cribbin told the Irish Times that the whole community is in a state of shock at news of the accident.

"These flights have been happening for the last 20 years and this is the first time I've heard of a plane going down".