A 22-year-old Brit has been killed by a spinning helicopter blades while returning from a family holiday.
Jack Fenton was travelling back from Mykonos with three friends in the hired chopper as his parents followed behind when he was struck in the head by the craft’s high-speed rear rotor in Athens, Greece.
Local reports suggested he was taking a selfie when getting out of the helicopter.
Police have now arrested three people over the tragedy that took place at about 6.20pm yesterday July 25.
The pilot of the black Bell 407 craft said to be “deeply traumatised” by the incident and two ground technicians have been arrested as cops investigate.
Jack who is an Oxford Brookes student disembarked the chopper after it landed at the Superior Air helipad in Spata, unaware that a rotor was still spinning. It’s understood he walked towards the tail of the helicopter.
His fellow passengers and the pilot then reeled in horror as they saw a sweeping blade kill him instantly at around 6.20pm local time.
A police official, who identified the victim as Jack, told The Times:
“He was the first to disembark the Bell 407 helicopter in Athens and as he moved to the back, he was hit in the head by the aircraft’s small rear rotor.
“There was no chance of him surviving. His death was instantaneous.”
Cops are probing whether Jack, who went to the £7,740-a-year Sutton Valance School in Maidstone, Kent, was trying to take a selfie when he was struck.
A police source told The Sun;
“We are examining every eventuality, including the possibility of the boy going there to take a selfie in the excitement of the moment.”
The shocked pilot managed to radio the second craft with his wealthy parents on board and requested emergency permission to abort the landing.
Jack’s mum and dad Miguel who is head of marketing, sales and PR at the 400-acre visitor attraction The Hop Farm in Kent, were instead taken to Athens Airport.
A source told The Sun;
“The pilot saw what had happened and decided to spare the parents the sight of their son – it was horrendous.
“He flew on to another helipad at Athens where the couple were consoled as it was confirmed that the young man was dead.
“The cause is being investigated but it remains unclear why this happened – or was allowed to happen when rotor blades pose such an obvious danger.
“We are talking about a tragedy – an unprecedented tragedy – a tragedy that should never have happened.”
The helicopter’s pilot could face manslaughter charges if he was deemed to be at fault, Kalliakmanis told the Mega news channel.
Giorgos Kalliakmanis, the head of the Greek police union told Mega news channel;
“We want to see if the pilot informed the passengers to get off the helicopter.
“These propellers run for about two minutes from the time he turns the engine off unless he presses a button which stops them at 50 seconds.
“The helicopter door has no security, anyone who wants to open the door and get out.
“The preliminary investigation will look at whether the pilot informed them to get out when the propeller and engines stopped.”
The company that manages the helicopters has insisted that Jack and his fellow passengers were led to the safety of the reception area after getting off the chopper.
Workers at the helipad claim he turned around and returned to the runway as the craft was in the process of being shut down, reports Protothema.
Accident investigators probing the tragedy are questioning the chopper pilot as to why the rotors were not still or secured before passengers were allowed off.
Two airport officials and the pilot appeared before a prosecutor today July 26, to testify in connection with potential negligence charges.
The weather may have also contributed as high winds were reported across Greece as well as searing 40C heat on Monday.