Colin McRae, his son, and two others killed UPDATE #3
Today, it was reported by British newspaper The Guardian that Sheriff Nikola Stewart has ruled Colin McRae to have flown at a dangerously low altitude while performing ‘reckless’ maneuvers in order to ‘thrill his passengers’. The 39-year-old has also been found to have not updated his documentation for flying the aircraft.
“He undertook significant maneuvering at low level and the helicopter seems to have encountered significant g-loading as a result, to the evident enjoyment of his passengers,” the sheriff comments.
“The deaths and the accident resulting in the deaths might have been avoided had Mr. McRae not flown his helicopter into the Mouse valley. Such a precaution would have been entirely reasonable. There was no necessity to enter the Mouse valley. There were no operational or logistical reasons to enter the Mouse valley.
“Mr. McRae chose to fly the helicopter into the valley. For a private pilot such as Mr. McRae, lacking the necessary training, experience or requirement to do so, embarking upon such demanding, low-level flying in such difficult terrain, was imprudent, unreasonable and contrary to the principles of good airmanship.” 09/16/07 The police have confirmed the identity of the victims in the helicopter crash involving former World Rally Champion Colin McRae near the Scot's own estate in the UK on Friday afternoon. Besides the 39-year-old rally star, his five-year-old son Johnny and two family friends, 27-year-old Graeme Duncan and six-year-old Ben Porcelli, were also killed.
09/15/07 Former rally driving champion Colin McRae was killed and his five year-old son feared dead in a helicopter crash today afternoon. The aircraft came down in Jerviswood, Lanarkshire, half a mile from the family's home and burst into flames just after 4pm.
Jean-Eric Freudiger, McRae's agent, said the 39-year-old driver had been piloting the helicopter himself. Also on board were believed to be his son Johnny, another adult and another child. Police said there were no survivors.
The Twin Squirrel helicopter registered to the former world champion rally driver came down shortly after 4pm today about 200 yards from his 17th-century mansion.
Police sources said the blue helicopter used by the 39-year-old multi-millionaire had exploded in a "fireball".
Eyewitness David Lowry, who lives nearby, said he watched as the helicopter plunged into a valley.
As many as four people are thought to have died in the crash. Jean-Eric Freudiger, McRae's agent, confirmed McRae had been piloting the helicopter.
Locals said they feared McRae had been traveling with another adult and two children. A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman confirmed there were no survivors. Officers were trying to establish who was on board and where the helicopter was traveling to and from.
"The damage has been so bad that we don't know how many people were on board. It might be one, it might be more," she said. "We just don't know at the moment."
She added that it could be some time before official identifications can be made.
Colin McRae won the World Rally Championship drivers' title in 1995 driving a Subaru, becoming the first Briton to win the title.
He also was runner-up in 1996, 1997 and 2001.
He was married to Alison and had two children, Hollie and Johnny.
McRae's friend the rally journalist Jeremy Hart who flew with the champion several times described him as a "very good, very measured pilot whose natural ability with machinery was second to none". "Colin regularly flew all over the UK and into Europe," said Hart. "He knew the terrain and conditions at Jerviswood very well. It was the place he flew into most regularly.
"As a driver Colin was misunderstood slightly as being reckless but everything you saw with him came from pure raw talent as opposed to being learnt. He was the Michael Schumacher of rally driving.
"It's so ironic that he should die in a helicopter crash when he had competed and had brushed with death so many times as a rally driver."
09/15/07 There are no survivors in a crash involving Colin McRae's helicopter today. According to reports, two people have been killed when the helicopter burst into flames and crashed in McRae's estate in Scotland.