Search

Inquest to open into Gillingham helicopter crash deaths

18:00 11 January 2016

The wreckage of the helicopter in which four people died when it came down in thick fog in a field in Gillingham, near Beccles, Norfolk. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The wreckage of the helicopter in which four people died when it came down in thick fog in a field in Gillingham, near Beccles, Norfolk. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

An inquest is due to open into the deaths of four men killed when a helicopter in which they were travelling crashed during take-off in March 2014.

Businessman Lord Ballyedmond, 70, and his employee Declan Small, 42, from Mayobridge, County Down. died in the incident at Gillingham Hall, Norfolk, along with the 36-year-old pilot Carl Dickerson and 45-year-old co-pilot Lee Hoyle.

The coroner’s inquest is due to begin in Norwich tomorrow.

Lord Ballyedmond was the chairman and founder of the international pharmaceutical company, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd, based in Northern Ireland, and a member of the House of Lords since 2004.

He had also been a senator in the Irish Parliament from 1994 to 2002, and was prominent in the peace and reconciliation process in Northern Ireland.

An air safety report into the crash was published by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) in October 2015.

The investigation said the take-off Lord Ballyedmond’s estate, Gillingham Hall would not have been allowed in such conditions from a licensed aerodrome.

In a pre-flight conversation between two pilots in the helicopter, one of them said he was not “very happy about lifting out of here”.

The report said the flight crew lacked external visual cues, formal training and procedures to fly in the conditions.

The AgustaWestland AW139 was due to depart at 6.30pm on March 13 but the two passengers were not ready to leave until 7.20pm.

By the time the crew were ready to leave, a “dense fog had set in” which witnesses said cut visibility down to “the order of tens of metres”.

The AAIB examined the contents of the cockpit voice and flight data recorder, which recorded the pilots discussing the conditions.

The helicopter reached an altitude of 82ft and a ground speed of 90 knots before it crashed nose-down into the field.

The report said it hit a line of large hay bales lying across a field, which destroyed the cabin structure.

The inquest will examine the circumstances of the crash, and consider any recommendations.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Beccles and Bungay Journal visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Beccles and Bungay Journal staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Beccles and Bungay Journal account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other news

The 2016 Sotterley Country Fair has been cancelled. 

Picture: James Bass

The Sotterley Country Fair, which was scheduled to take place tomorrow (Sunday), has been cancelled due to the bad weather.

Bungay Black Dog Arts have created a chicken trail around the town in honour of the chickens that lived on the nearby Ditchingham roundabout.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

They once roamed proud on a roundabout, earning national fame for Bungay.

08:30
Vaughan Shea presents awards to Ray Baker and Anne Frith at The Three Rivers talking newspaper's celebration tea marking 25 years of the service. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

It is a vital service for the visually impaired.

09:00
The former Worlingham Primary school on Rectory Lane.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

There is “light at the end of the tunnel” in a long-running campaign to bring a community centre to Worlingham, the group behind the scheme has said.

Most Read

Yesterday, 09:24
Police are appealing for witnesses following a crash in Hedenham, near Bungay.

Police are appealing for witnesses following a three-vehicle collision in Hedenham, near Bungay, on Wednesday.

Read more
Norfolk and Norwich Hospital
Yesterday, 12:18
Police are appealing for help after a man in his 40s was sexually assaulted.

Police are appealing for help to trace a man who was riding a mountain bike in Beccles after a man in his 40s was sexually assaulted.

Read more
Suffolk Police
The 2016 Sotterley Country Fair has been cancelled. 

Picture: James Bass

The Sotterley Country Fair, which was scheduled to take place tomorrow (Sunday), has been cancelled due to the bad weather.

Read more
Facebook
Wed, 20:50
The recovery operation begins after the three vehicle accident near the Mermaid at Hedenham. Photo: Simon Finlay

A man has been flown to hospital after suffering a head injury in a crash involving three cars.

Read more
Bungay Black Dog Arts have created a chicken trail around the town in honour of the chickens that lived on the nearby Ditchingham roundabout.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

They once roamed proud on a roundabout, earning national fame for Bungay.

Read more
River Waveney Trust

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 12°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Beccles and Bungay Journal e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up