An ongoing investigation into the cause of a plane crash at Cork Airport last year, which claimed the lives of six people, has identified a problem with a sensor on the right-side engine.

A part of the sensor was shorter than required under manufacturer's specification, according to an interim statement from the Department of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Unit.

The sensor provided pressure and temperature information to the fuel control unit.

The examination also revealed a leak in the sensor system.

The analysis found that as a consequence of the defect, the sensor was showing a temperature value up to 57C/135F below the actual performance of the engine.

As a result, the statement says, there were a number of consequences for the performance of the engine.

Six people, including two flight crew, died when the Manx2 operated Fairchild Metro III aircraft crashed in poor visibility while on approach at Cork Airport on 10 February 2011.

It had earlier departed Belfast City Airport.

The aircraft initially carried out two approaches to land at Cork Airport, both of which were aborted, according to the interim statement.

It then entered a holding pattern before attempting a third approach. But that approach was also aborted.

However, while approaching the threshold of the runway, the aircraft rolled to the left and then rapidly to the right.

During this manoeuvre, the AAIU says the right wing tip hit the runway surface and the aircraft turned upside down.

It came to a halt in soft ground to the right of the runway.

In addition to the six deaths, four other people on board were seriously injured. Two people sustained minor injuries.

An interim statement must be produced in circumstances where a final report cannot be made public within 12 months.