40 years on, Captain Ocana’s ashes to be scattered at racecourse

It was 40 years ago that a Gulfstream jet made an emergency landing at Mallow Racecourse, and Captain Ruben Ocana became a celebrity for his heroics in piloting the aircraft to safety despite being nearly out of fuel. On that day, and for weeks afterwards, Mallow became national and international news as work began to build a runway for the jet to take off again, so it is fitting that four decades later the ashes of Captain Ocana will be scattered on the grass of the racecourse, as part of Ocana Fest, a two-day festival in the great man’s honour.
Ocana Fest is planned for Friday and Saturday, 21st and 22nd April, and the Ocana family will officially open Friday’s horse racing at 1.30pm in the racecourse, followed at 6pm by the scattering of the ashes, and this will be followed by a spactacular air show before the action switches to Mallow town itself, where there will be music, food and displays, plus fancy dress, and a performance by the San Patricio Mariachi Band.
On Saturday there will be a range of activities in the town, including children’s workshops, model airplane display, drone racing, an exhibition in Mallow Library, and the showing of a film by local man Alan Wilson of the events around Captain Ocana’s time in Mallow, plus the unveiling of a plaque outside Ocana’s Bar.
For more details about the two-day celebration of the 40th anniversary of Captain Ocana’s visit to Mallow, check out the Ocana Fest page on Facebook.