Friends Of Tourist Who Was Killed By Helicopter Blade Deny He Was 'Distracted By Phone'
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Friends of Jack Fenton, the British tourist who was killed in a freak helicopter accident when returning from Greece on Monday (25 July), have denied the 22-year-old was ‘distracted by his phone’.
Fenton was returning home from Mykonos with friends at the beginning of the week. The group had been in Greece to celebrate his birthday, and according to Greek investigators, Fenton ran back onto the tarmac after safely disembarking the aircraft as he wanted to take a selfie, despite being warned against doing so by the crew. It’s claimed that at that moment, Fenton accidentally ran into a whirring blade.
However, Fenton’s friend Jack Stanton-Gleaves, 20, has said the pilot's version of events are incorrect.
Stanton-Gleaves was riding in the helicopter alongside friends James Yeabsley, 19, and former Bournemouth University student Max Savage, 20, who are said to be 'traumatised'.
Of the incident, Stanton-Gleaves told MailOnline: “No instructions were given when exiting the helicopter and no one escorted us to the lounge. All they did was open the doors for us.
“We disembarked on our own and no one stopped Jack from going to the rear of the helicopter. None of us reached the lounge before the accident happened.”
He added: “I've heard people say Jack was on his phone and ran back to the helicopter and this is totally untrue. He was not on his phone and why he turned towards the rear of the helicopter I don't know.”
The Bell 407 helicopter that Fenton and his friends had been transported in was piloted by Christos Fragkopanagos.
When the incident occurred at 6.20pm in Athens, the engine was reportedly still engaged.
Fragkopanagos was arrested alongside ground technicians Salim Milat and Spyros Andriopoulos, but later released after testifying that Fenton had been escorted inside the airport before running back outside.
MailOnline notes that Fragkopanagos, Milat and Andriopoulos could face negligence or manslaughter charges if it’s found that they told passengers to disembark when it was not safe to do so.
Ioannis Kandyllis, president of Greece's committee for aviation accidents probing the incident, said in a statement that Fenton ran back towards the helicopter with his phone to his ear.
Kandyllis claimed: “All four passengers had disembarked and were escorted to a private lounge awaiting a private flight for London.
“But as they were in the lounge the victim broke away and returned to the tarmac rushing to the helicopter at a fast pace.
“Witnesses we spoke to said he had a phone to his ear and was walking fast to the aircraft, defying ground crew shouting to him 'Stop! Stop!' Within seconds the tragic accident occurred. It was horrific.”
LADbible has approached the Hellenic Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board for comment.
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Topics: World News