Racing driver found at fault for flying carelessly and causing crash, in which he and three others died, by judicial inquiry. The former world rally champion Colin McRae has been held totally to blame for a helicopter crash that killed himself, another man and two children, including his child, after a judicial investigation.
Sheriff Nikola Stewart said the racing driver was guilty of “imprudently” and “unnecessarily” taking the helicopter on a dangerous low-level flight into a heavily lush valley in 2007 to thrill his passengers, despite having no pilot’s license for the aircraft.
The crash in Mouse valley near Larkhall, Lanarkshire, killed McRae, his five-year-old child John “Johnny” McRae, a six-year-old family friend and neighbor, Ben Porcelli, and another friend, Graeme Arthur Duncan, aged 36, leaving wreckage scattered across the hillside.
Ben Porcelli’s distraught parents, Mark and Karen Porcelli, said at the time that McRae had never asked permission to take their child on the flight. Police investigators at the crash site said the impact was so serious, it was difficult to tell that a helicopter was involved.
In an extended and damning ruling following a fatal accident inquiry into the crash, Stewart tracked down that McRae, 39, was guilty of a series of dangerous, wild and unjustified maneuvers during the flight, including flying at extremely low level and failing to keep basic guidelines of airmanship.
She confirmed the driver, who became undeniably popular for endorsing the hit computer racing games Colin McRae Rally and Dirt, did not have the right flying license or authorisation for operating that kind of helicopter, and was flying illegally.
She Recorded How the Flight Had Been Partially Filmed by Duncan!
Which showed that McRae had flown as low as 275ft (84 meters), apparently to buzz some farm buildings, and then banked the helicopter sharply in a series of aerial tricks.
“He embraced significant maneuvering at low level and the helicopter seems to have experienced significant g-loading thus, to the evident enjoyment of his passengers,” the sheriff recorded, in a judgment issued on Tuesday.
“The episodes of extremely low-level flying and the excessive maneuver parameters, particularly the drop into the valley by Larkhall, all as captured on the video recording, are indicative of an aircraft being flown imprudently, without due regard to the principles of good airmanship, and so that normal safety margins would be decreased.
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“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 real explanations to enter the Mouse valley.
“Mr McRae decided to fly the helicopter into the valley. For a private pilot like Mr McRae, lacking the necessary training, experience or requirement to do as such, embarking upon such demanding, low-level flying in such difficult terrain, was imprudent, unreasonable and contrary to the principles of good airmanship.”
McRae’s father, the former British rally champion Jimmy McRae, insisted his child was a skilled and experienced pilot. In a brief statement, he said: “We still believe we won’t ever understand what caused the crash yet we were never in any uncertainty as to Colin’s ability as a fine pilot.
“Everyone knows from Colin’s rallying career that safety is always an issue and that his reactions and eye and hand co-ordination were first class.”
Jimmy McRae added: “The past four years have been extremely difficult for all the families concerned and we trust that now we can move forward.”
McRae Dies in Helicopter Crash, Police Believe!
Former world rally champion Colin McRae and his five-year-old child were among four individuals killed in a helicopter crash police believe.
Strathclyde police issued a statement on Sunday naming the 39-year-old McRae and his child Johnny as among the presumed victims. The helicopter, registered to 1995 title holder McRae, came down near his home yesterday and burst into flames.
”It has now been confirmed that there were four individuals, two adults and two young children ready,” the police statement said.
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”The after death has still to take place however the four involved are believed to be Mr. Colin McRae (39) of Jerviswood House and his child Johnny Gavin McRae, aged 5, Ben Porcelli (6), of Cleghorn Road, Lanark, who had been exaggerating with Johnny, and family friend Graeme Duncan (37), of L’Ile Degaillot, Faycelles, France.
” McRae was the first British driver to win the World Rally championship. The second, Richard Consumes, died two years ago from a brain tumor.
Chief Superintendent Tim Love of Strathclyde Police said: ”We believe that the gathering were simply returning from a visit to the nearby village of Quarter around 1605 hours, when it appears that the helicopter got into difficulty and crashed within the grounds of Mr McRae‘s family home.
RIP Colin McRae – a star we lost too early, nine years ago today. pic.twitter.com/YESLmfruKA
— Ed Foster (@AnotherEdFoster) September 15, 2016
” McRae, the child of five-times British rally champion Jimmy, was a big figure in British motorsport with his swashbuckling driving style and came out on top for the championship driving for Subaru in 1995.
He was sprinter up in 1996 and 1997 and again with Portage in 2001 when he was pipped to the title by Consumes. Tributes poured today in from the motorsport world. Former Subaru chief and World Rally supremo David Richards said McRae had ”extraordinary spirit”.
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”It was a competitive spirit like I’ve never found in any other individual in my life that could say ‘I can do anything’,” Richard told journalists from the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix.
”It’s unusual to call somebody a legend yet it’s exceptionally appropriate for Colin.” Great TRAITS Formula One driver and dear friend David Coulthard, racing at the Belgium GP, said McRae’s death was a ”terrible blow”. ”He was fearless, flamboyant, blindingly quick in the car.
He was extremely practical, matter-of-fact that he was so great. He had all the great Scottish traits,” Coulthard said.
McRae began his rally career in 1986 on the Scottish circuit, honing the skills that would earn him 25 career victories On the planet Rally Championship (WRC). McRae made his WRC debut in 1987 at the Swedish rally however his career took off when he joined the Subaru team in 1991.
He was British champion in 1991 and 1992 and made his breakthrough on the world stage in 1993 when he won the New Zealand Rally. In 1995 he took the world title on home soil in the last occasion of the season, edging out Subaru team mate Carlos Sainz.
He moved to the Citroen team in 2003 however battled to a disappointing seventh in the championship. McRae competed in different forms of motorsport, namely the Paris-Dakar Rally and the Le Mans 24-hour race.
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