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Manufacturers of the helicopter which crashed in Norfolk killing Carlisle peer Lord Ballyedmond have told ITV Border they have sent representatives to assist with the investigation.
– AgustaWestland spokesperson
“AgustaWestland is very saddened by news of an accident involving one of the helicopters it manufacturers.
"AgustaWestland has promptly dispatched personnel to assist the operator and authorities with their investigation.
"While that process takes place, it is not possible to make any further comment."
Lord Ballyedmond had previously raised concerns about the safety of his aircraft.
Conservative peer Lord Ballyedmond was one of the four men killed in a helicopter crash in Norfolk yesterday.
Here is a profile on the peer:
- He was one of the richest men in Northern Ireland and had an estimated wealth of around £500 million.
- Lord Ballyedmond was the chairman of Norbrook, the largest privately owned pharmaceutical company in the world.
- He was known as Edward Haughey until he was made a life peer in 2004.
- The peer owned Gillingham Hall, a stately home near the crash site.
- Lord Ballyedmond served in the upper houses of both Britain and Ireland.
- He was 70-years-old and leaves behind his wife Lady Mary, who he had two sons and a daughter with.
Tributes have been coming in to the Carlisle Conservative peer Lord Ballyedmond, originally from Northern Ireland, who died in the helicopter crash at Gillingham last night.
Stormont Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, said. "Without doubt, Lord Ballyedmond was one of Northern Ireland's most successful entrepreneurs.
"He was known for his leadership, integrity and global vision. One of a kind and a self made businessman, he was both highly regarded and widely respected by all those who knew him."
The helicopter involved in last night's accident was an Agusta Westland AW139 but exactly what journey was involved is still to be determined.
What will emerge from the investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) team will be the type of flying qualification held by the pilot.
Many helicopter pilots are permitted to fly only in good-visibility conditions during the day, with others being permitted to fly at night in good conditions.
Some pilots are qualified to fly using visual-aid instruments so that they are able to take to the skies when there is cloud, or poor visibility.
David Learmount, operations and safety editor of Flight Global said:
"Helicopter flying is usually done under clear-visual conditions. Helicopters are much more difficult to fly than aeroplanes and much more difficult to fly on instruments than planes.
"You have to be particularly careful if fog is around. It's a hell of a hazard."
The AAIB will also want to know if there was any communication from the helicopter before or during the flight.
If the helicopter had taken off from a private helipad in good conditions, then the pilot would not have needed any permission to get airborne.
Mr Learmount said the Norfolk accident had echoes of the helicopter crash in south London last year when experienced pilot Pete Barnes, 50, was killed when his aircraft clipped a high-rise crane in Vauxhall.
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A Norfolk resident has tweeted about hearing a helicopter flying over his house in thick fog tonight, while taxi driver Mark Murray, 22, from Beccles, added: "There is a large stately home nearby and you often see helicopters coming and going from there.
"When they have a game shoot the guests often all arrive in separate helicopters. We don't know if that is linked, but that's the only helicopter activity we see in this area."
Helicopter crashed very close to my house in Gillingham tonight. I heard it flying over the house
In Gillingham now. Can't see my hand infront of my face. No sign of scene of crash. Wouldn't see it anyway, too foggy
A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said it will be sending a team to investigate the helicopter crash in Gillingham, near Beccles.
Four people are believed to have died in the incident.