Palpable sense of shock at tragic helicopter deaths

March 17, 2014

The sense of shock at the tragic deaths in a helicopter crash of Newry businessman, Edward Haughey and his employee, Declan Small, along with two pilots, continues to be felt throughout the area.

The four were killed when Dr. Haughey’s Agusta Westland helicopter crashed in thick fog shortly after it took off from his stately home in rural Norfolk around 7.30pm on Thursday evening.

Dr. Haughey, who is also known as Lord Ballyedmond, was the owner of Norbrook Laboratories in Newry, a leading pharmaceuticals veterinary firm employing more than 1,700 people locally.

His employee, Declan Small (42) from Mayobridge, worked as a site foreman for the firm, while pilots Carl Dickerson and Lee Hoyle were employed by another of Lord Ballyedmond’s companies, Haughey Air Ltd.

On Sunday, the officials from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) revealed that the flight voice recorder from the stricken helicopter had been recovered.  It is hoped that this will shed some light on what caused the aircraft to crash into a field, killing all four on board.

In the days following the tragedy, tributes poured in for the victims.  Declan Small was described as his boss’s “right-hand-man” and a skilled craftsman who took great pride in his work.  His close-knit family said they are devastated and heart-broken at the loss of their much-loved son and brother.

Edward Haughey’s tragic death has stunned the business world across the globe, through which he was well-known and highly respected for his contribution to the field of pharmaceutical research.  Nowhere is his passing felt more than within Norbrook’s Newry factories where his employees have vowed to carry on his pioneering vision “with a renewed vigour and determination befitting his memory”.

Lord Ballyedmond is survived by his wife Mary, two sons and a daughter.

His funeral arrangements, and those of Declan Small, have yet to be released as The Examiner went to press.