Carlisle peer 'killed in helicopter crash'

Four people, including Lord Ballyedmond from Cumbria, have died after a civilian helicopter crash in Gillingham, near Beccles, Norfolk police have confirmed.

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  1. National

Profile of Tory peer Lord Ballyedmond who died in crash

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 to Carlisle's Lord Ballyedmond

Lord Ballyedmond Credit: UTV

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."

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  1. Anglia

Investigation will start with focus on helicopter pilot

An Agusta Westland AW139 Credit: PA

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.

  1. National

Norfolk resident 'heard helicopter flying over his house'

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."

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  1. Anglia

Crash investigators prepare to examine wreckage

Police have set up a cordon around the crash site Credit: ITV News Anglia

Crash investigators are preparing to comb the wreckage of the helicopter which came down at Gillingham on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

The team from Farnborough in Hampshire will carry out a detailed examination of the site to determine what caused the crash which has claimed four lives.

  1. Anglia

Police teams search crash site

Police search teams look for fragments of wreckage Credit: ITV News Anglia

Police teams are searching a wide area near the scene of the helicopter crash which has claimed four lives on the Norfolk border with Suffolk.

Inspector Louis Provart from Norfolk Police is leading the investigation.

He told reporters the emergency services are working together in difficult conditions to secure the scene and carry out an initial investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

Carlisle peer 'among helicopter crash dead'

One of the people killed when a helicopter crashed in thick fog was Cumbrian businessman Lord Ballyedmond according to reports. Lord Ballyedmond, one of the richest men in Cumbria, was chairman of Norbrook, the world's largest privately owned pharmaceutical company. He owned Gillingham Hall.

He was apparently killed with three other people when a helicopter came down in thick fog in a field in Gillingham, near Beccles, Norfolk, yesterday.

"Sadly, it is believed that four people in the helicopter are believed to have died in the crash. Ambulance resources have now been stood down from the scene. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives."

– A spokeswoman for East of England Ambulance Service

"Emergency services are working together in difficult conditions to secure the scene and carry out an initial investigation into the circumstances.

"Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of those who have sadly lost their lives this evening."

– Inspector Louis Provart

Emergency services were called and all four people on board were pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash site will remain cordoned off today.

"There has certainly been some fog around south Norfolk, and the Norwich area has been in fog.

"There has been widespread mist around East Anglia and low visibility quite widely across East Anglia. Mist means low visibility, and it has been misty quite widely throughout the evening."

– Helen Roberts, a forecaster at the Met Office
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