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Report published into Lord Balleyedmond helicopter crash

Lord Balleyedmond Credit: UTV

A report surrounding the investigation into a helicopter crash that killed 4 passengers has been released today.

Among the victims was Lord Balleyedmond, who lived at Corby Castle near Carlisle.

The summary of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch Report (AAIB) has been published on their website today:

The helicopter departed from a private site with little cultural lighting at night and in fog.

Although the commander had briefed a vertical departure, the helicopter pitched progressively nose-down until impacting the ground.

The four occupants were fatally injured. Safety action has been proposed by the CAA, and two Safety Recommendations are made."

– Air Accidents Investigation Branch Report

After thorough analysis and investigation, the report arrived at the following conclusion:

The helicopter departed the private site in fog and at night. Operation from the site in such conditions was permissible under existing regulation.

Departure from a licensed aerodrome in such conditions would not have been permitted.Evidence suggests that the flight crew may have been subject to somatogravic illusion caused by the helicopter’s flight path and the lack of external visual cues.

The absence of procedures for two pilot operation, the pilots’ lack of formal training in such procedures, and the limited use of the automatic flight control system, may have contributed to the accident.

Opportunities to reduce the likelihood of such an event, presented by the report into the operator’s previous fatal accident, appeared not to have been taken.

The UK will adopt new regulations involving non-commercial complex aircraft operations in 2016 and, following the accident to G-LBAL and other occurrences investigated by theAAIB involving helicopters, the CAA intends to complete a review the subject of IFR flying outside controlled airspace by 1 October 2015."

– AAIB Report

The investigation was launched after 4 people were killed when a helicopter came down in thick fog in a field in Gillingham, near Beccles, in March 2014.

One of the passengers killed in the crash in 2014 was Cumbrian businessman Lord Ballyedmond.

Lord Ballyedmond, one of the richest men in Cumbria, was chairman of Norbrook, the world's largest privately owned pharmaceutical company and he owned Gillingham Hall.

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 when he died leaving behind his wife Lady Mary, who he had two sons and a daughter with.
  • He lived at Corby Castle near Carlisle.

Tributes paid to Cumbria's wealthiest man following helicopter crash

Tributes are being paid to Cumbria's wealthiest man following his death in a helicopter crash.

Lord Ballyedmond was one of the county's most colourful figures.

As Edward Haughey he made his fortune from pharmaceuticals.

He gave millions to charity but also lost friends with a series of high-profile disagreements many of them with people who lived close-to his home at Corby Castle near Carlisle.

Investigations are underway into the what caused his helicopter to come down close to the Conservative peer's Norfolk estate in the village of Gillingham. Three other men died in the crash.


Helicopter manufacturers 'assisting' authorities

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 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."

– AgustaWestland spokesperson

Lord Ballyedmond had previously raised concerns about the safety of his aircraft.


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."