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'Perception error' linked to fatal Lord Ballyedmond helicopter crash

Tory peer Lord Ballyedmond. Picture by Harrison Photography, Press Association
Helen William

THE helicopter crash which killed Co Down multimillionaire Lord Ballyedmond may have been triggered by an error in perception along with a lack of training and procedures to handle the flight which took off in thick fog.

An error in perception by the crew, who had lacked visual clues before the flight, may also have played a part in the crash on March 13 2014, according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

The two passengers - 70-year-old Tory peer Edward Haughey, also known as Lord Ballyedmond, and his employee Declan Small (42) - along with captain Carl Dickerson (36) and co-pilot Lee Hoyle (45) were killed.

The helicopter crashed in dense fog just 460 yards after taking off from the peer's home at Gillingham Hall in Norfolk.

The investigators pointed out that because the flight was from a private landing site, there was no requirement for a particular minimum visibility.

Lord Ballyedmond, founder of Norbook Laboratories in Newry, was one of Ireland's richest men, with estimated wealth in excess of £800 million.

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