Jury considers Leitrim Lodge crash verdict

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Sunday, February 26th, 2012
A jury investigating a helicopter crash near Leitrim Lodge, has retired to consider it’s verdict. The crash killed three people, Charles Stisted, Ian Wooldridge, and pilot Anthony Smith in October 2010, when their helicopter crashed into Shanlieve Mountain. The jury heard from senior coroner John Leckey who described the pilot as a “safe pair of hands”. Mr Leckey continued by saying, “It is difficult to think of any pilot who would have had more experience than Mr Smith, it really was an exceptional career.” The coroner also mentioned how Air Accident Investigation Bureau inspectors were unable to reach a good evidence based conclusion. The investigators had been forced to use speculation such as the pilot being subtly incapacitated or the pilot having his vision obscured, although there was no proof of either being true. The jury heard how the the pilot skirted an area which was until recently, was prohibited and how an in-flight system and map of St Angelo airport still showed the area as forbidden. The pilot’s chart however had been updated. Mr Leckey posed the question, “Might the combination of the two events have caused him to doubt his chart? We will never know.” He concluded by saying, “It is terrible to think if the aircraft had been flying 120ft higher there would not have been a crash and we would not be sitting here today.”
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