No mechanical defects found on helicopter, inquest told

An inquest into the death of Lord Ballyedmond and three others heard no mechanical defects were found on the helicopter
Ben Kendall, Press Association

NO mechanical defects were found on a helicopter which crashed killing Tory peer and multi-millionaire Lord Ballyedmond and three others, an inquest has heard.

The inquest in Norwich, which is expected to conclude on Friday, heard evidence from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) on Thursday.

Senior investigator Mark Jarvis, who inspected the wreckage, said there was no evidence that the helicopter was damaged before the crash.

"The helicopter was behaving normally and had no identifiable defects which would have affected the flight," he added.

Lord Ballyedmond, also known as Dr Edward Haughey, was killed when the Agusta Westland AW139 came down shortly after take-off near the estate he owned in Gillingham, Norfolk, on March 13 2014.

Dr Haughey's foreman, Declan Small (42) from of Mayobridge, pilot Captain Carl Dickerson (36) from Lancashire and co-pilot Captain Lee Hoyle (45) from Cheshire, also died.

Another AAIB investigator, Peter Wivell, told the inquest that the pilot may have suffered from an optical illusion caused by the fog.

A lack of visual cues would have caused him to become disorientated and he may have felt like he was pitching up when he was in fact flying level meaning he over-corrected and steered the nose down, he added.

Earlier the inquest was shown footage one of his staff took on a mobile phone of the helicopter taking off in thick fog.

The person filming is heard remarking: "They're taking off blind".

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