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Colin Mcrae killed in helicopter crash

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Rally champion Colin McRae dies with son in helicopter crash

Tom Gordon for The Sunday Times


THE former rally driving champion Colin McRae was killed and his five year-old son feared dead in a helicopter crash yesterday afternoon. The aircraft came down in Jerviswood, Lanarkshire, half a mile from the family's home and burst into flames just after 4pm.


Jean-Eric Freudiger, McRae's agent, said the 39-year-old driver had been piloting the helicopter himself. Also on board were believed to be his son Johnny, another adult and another child. Police said there were no survivors.


McRae's wife Alison and their daughter Hollie, 9, were not on board, friends said.


McRae became Britain's first World Rally champion in 1995. He was one of the country's most successful sportsmen, achieving 25 wins in World Rally events and 42 podium places. He was a flamboyant driver, inspiring one the world's best-selling computer rally games.


The helicopter came down within half a mile of McRae's home, Jervis House, a 16th-century tower house, which has an adjacent helipad. The weather had been overcast, with a light breeze, but visibility was good.


Strathclyde police said the extent of the fire damage was making identification a problem.


McRae's wife, a childhood sweetheart and his former co-driver, was taken back to the house under police escort shortly after 6pm. She looked calm, but neighbours gathering outside the house looked shaken with grief.


McRae's friend the rally journalist Jeremy Hart who flew with the champion several times described him as a "very good, very measured pilot whose natural ability with machinery was second to none". "Colin regularly flew all over the UK and into Europe," said Hart. "He knew the terrain and conditions at Jerviswood very well. It was the place he flew into most regularly.


"As a driver Colin was misunderstood slightly as being reckless but everything you saw with him came from pure raw talent as opposed to being learnt. He was the Michael Schumacher of rally driving.


"It's so ironic that he should die in a helicopter crash when he had competed and had brushed with death so many times as a rally driver."


Additional reporting: Paul Lamarra


Tragic. Him and Richard Burns both taken at an early age.

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I don't know the stats (perhaps Rob W does?), but it seems to me that the fatalities per mile flown for helicopters is much higher than that of fixed wing aircraft. I'd think very carefully before getting in one.


They take a stupid amount of maintenance per flight hour, there's a lot more to go wrong, and if something does there's less chance of getting down safely.









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Had this been a fatal crash it would have been a sick, cruel twist of irony... Dave Richards was the boss of the Prodrive Subaru team that Colin McRae was driving for when he won the World Championship in 1995. :icon_lol:


Subaru rally team chief Dave Richards and his wife survived unhurt when their helicopter crash-landed in Essex.


Police said Mr Richards, 55, and his wife, Karen, "walked out of the wreckage" near North Weald Airfield and were treated for shock by paramedics.


Mr Richards, awarded a CBE in 2005, is chief executive of Prodrive.


It runs the Subaru World Rally Team that Colin McRae, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, won his world rally title with in 1995.


Mr Richards had earlier led the tributes to McRae, who was killed along with his five-year-old son, Johnny, and two other people following the accident in Lanarkshire.


Mr Richards and his wife were returning to their home at Banbury, Oxfordshire, after attending the Belgian Grand Prix.


Mill Lane, which is alongside the field where the wreckage lies, has been sealed off awaiting the arrival of Air Accident Investigation Branch staff.


"Something failed on the transmission system," Richards told autosport.com.


"Because of what happened with Colin yesterday, we didn't want to stay at Spa, we wanted to come back home early.


"We were nearing Stansted airport when we heard this bang at the back of the aircraft.


"I was talking to the control at Stansted at the time, so I immediately gave them a May Day call, and the rescue crew came within minutes.


"Then, everything failed but I managed to bring it down to the ground, and it fell on its side."


A Prodrive spokesman added: "David and Colin were great friends and it's an amazing coincidence that this has happened.


"Colin was a Subaru driver for many years and during that time he and David got to know each other very well. David is devastated about what has happened to Colin.


"We are just thankful he and Karen are OK."


The spokesman said Mr Richards, who was piloting a Eurocopter EC 135, experienced mechanical problems over Essex while travelling at about 1,500ft.


He said Mr Richards managed to bring the aircraft down in a field and both he and his wife escaped unhurt.



Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/6997784.stm

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