I don’t do breaking news on this blog, as this is my escape from the day job. However, I’m making an exception today because of a powerful statement that I have received from Donal and Liz Jevens.
Cadet David Jevens from Davidstown, Glynn, Co Wexford, and Captain Derek Furniss (32), from Dublin, died when their PC-9M aircraft crashed while on a military training exercise on October 12, 2009, in Co Galway.
The accident happened just a day before David’s 22nd birthday. One of the brightest and best in the 27th Air Corps Cadet Class he was due to receive his wings in December 2009.
The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) carried out an investigation into the tragic accident, but the publication of this report has been delayed by an “interested party”, ultimately requiring an intervention from Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, which led to the report finally being released this morning.
The sole purpose of the investigation is the prevention of aviation accidents and incidents – not to apportion blame or liability.
Donal Jevens and his wife Liz have known the facts of the accident since a meeting with the AAIU in August 2010, but were prevented from discussing them (with anyone, even close family members) before the report was published – something which has proved a heavy burden for them.
“We want it to be known what happened our son. We find it very, very difficult that we can’t defend his honour,” Donal had told me previously. They can now defend the honour of the young Cadet and hopefully it will bring their family some small measure of solace.
You can read the AAIU report for yourself here. It is a quite technical 85-page report detailing all the circumstances surrounding the accident. I will have an extensive news report based on its findings in tomorrow’s Wexford People newspaper.
The statement from Donal and Elizabeth Jevens is below the photo of the couple at their son’s funeral.
The statement is about the death of their son and the effect it has had on his loved ones – compounded by the effect of the delay of the publication of the report. Ultimately, it’s a statement about David himself and his parents’ great love for him.
On October 13, 1987, David Jevens began life’s journey, a journey which ended tragically and abruptly on October 12, 2009.
We, his parents, have to face the almost impossible reality of not growing old with our first born child and that all the possibilities and dreams, that any parent would have for their son, will not be realised.
His brother, Christopher, and sister, Sarah, have lost a lifetime with their big brother, their mentor, their friend and their idol.
David’s girlfriend, Niamh, has lost a future of hopes, dreams and joy with David.
All David’s relations and friends have lost his friendship, his companionship and his caring and outgoing nature.
David should not be gone from us, he had his life to live, he had his dreams, aspirations and future to look forward to. All these were so cruelly taken away from him. For this reason, we just don’t feel sorrow and loss for ourselves, we feel it so much for our David.
The loss of our son David in such circumstances is a big enough cross for us to carry, but for the past 17 months, Liz and I have carried a far bigger burden.
We alone have had to live with the exact circumstances of David’s death without being able to share it with anyone.
Getting up in the morning to carry this burden is something that no parent should have to endure. In the past 12 months we have been faced with totally unnecessary delays in the process of the safety investigation.
This was the result of many attempts to frustrate the process, alter the facts and deny our son a hearing of the inevitable truth. This is something that should never be allowed to happen again.
It is our family’s sincere hope that lessons are learned from this report. We hope that changes are made so that something like this will never be repeated, so that no other parents have to endure the suffering of the loss of a son or daughter under such avoidable circumstances.
David achieved all his goals in life while showing humility and caring for others. He was an extremely proud and dedicated member of the Irish Defence Forces and the Irish Air Corps, he wore his uniform with immense pride.
It was more than just a career to him it was a true vocation. He was a dedicated, willing and committed servant of this country.
Cadet David Jevens will forever be enshrined in our memories, the memories of his many friends and his colleagues in the Defence Forces for all the right reasons.
Not a single moment goes by that he is not in our thoughts. At his grave a candle burns day and night, this is not just his memory, but for our pride in him and our love of him.
Anyone who knew David would have known that he would do the same for any of us given the circumstances.
The Air Corps motto “Forfaire agus Tairiseact” translates as “vigilant and loyal”, no greater or simpler words could encapsulate Cadet David Jevens’ character.