No fault found with Haughey crash helicopter

April 7, 2014

A preliminary investigation into last month’s helicopter crash which killed Newry businessman Edward Haughey, his employee Declan Small and two pilots, has found that there was no technical malfunction with the aircraft.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said no fault had been found with the helicopter, but visibility was said to be “in the order of tens of metres” due to dense fog when the Agusta Westland crashed in a field at Gillingham in Norfolk on 13th March.

The accident happened just moments after the aircraft took off from Mr Haughey’s stately home.

The report revealed that the helicopter got to 125ft above ground level before it “pitched aggressively nose-down” towards the ground, crashing about 460yds from where it took off.

There was no evidence that the helicopter had made contact with any other object prior to crashing and an initial examination found that both engines had been operating.

“The first ground marks, made by the lower nose structure of the helicopter and the nose wheels, indicated that the landing gear was down,” the report read.

“The distribution of wreckage indicated that, immediately after the main rotor blades struck the ground, the helicopter became airborne again and rotated clockwise about the main rotor head before striking the ground 45m beyond the first ground mark.”

Mr Small, 42, from Mayobridge in County Down, was a site foreman for Lord Ballyedmond’s company, Norbrook Laboratories.  Captain Dickerson from Lancashire and Mr Hoyle from Manchester were both pilots with Haughey Air Ltd, another of Lord Ballyedmond’s businesses.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing.