American air accident investigators say that establishing the cause of the plane crash in which at least five people, including golfer Payne Stewart, were killed is going to be difficult and time consuming. It is thought that the Lear Jet experienced sudden depressurisation while on a flight to Texas from Florida; it flew several thousand miles on auto-pilot, eventually coming down in South Dakota.

President Clinton has led the tributes to the champion golfer who was 42 and married with two children. Waterville Golf Course has been one of many paying its respects. Mr. Payne had been elected captain of the County Kerry course for next year.