Colin McRae not a show off, crash inquiry told
Monday 10 January 2011
Friends of former world rally champion Colin McRae described him as a responsible pilot and not a show off, a fatal accident inquiry into the helicopter crash which killed McRae and three others heard today.
Witness statements from those who knew driving ace McRae were read out as the inquiry into the tragedy on September 15 2007 began.
McRae, 39, died with his son Johnny, five, the boy's six-year-old school friend Ben Porcelli, and McRae's friend Graeme Duncan, 37, when the aircraft he was piloting crashed in the grounds of his home near Lanark.
On the first day of the inquiry at Lanark Sheriff Court, principal procurator fiscal depute Kate Meikle read out a statement given by Alexander Steele, who visited McRae at his home hours before the fatal flight.
Mr Steele, who had known McRae for around two years and had been flown by him twice, said: "I've seen him land many times.
"I've never seen Colin McRae fly irresponsibly at any time."
He said McRae and others were riding quad bikes and Mr Duncan was filming them when he went to the property.
After he left, McRae, the two boys and Mr Duncan went to see John Crawford in the Eurocopter Squirrel helicopter.
Mr Crawford said he was not aware of anything unusual when the craft took off after the visit.
The witness, who knew McRae for more than 10 years and who he said used his helicopter as others used cars, said: "As far as I know he got it inspected regularly.
"Colin was safety-minded at all times. He would document each flight.
"I've flown with him countless times."
He added: "He was not a show off."
Statements were also read out from Karen and Mark Porcelli, the parents of Ben, who said they did not give McRae permission to take their son in the helicopter.
They said they were family friends of McRae and his wife and their sons attended the same primary one class at school.
The boys would go to play at each other's homes, they said, and Mrs Porcelli said she dropped Ben off that afternoon.
She said: "There had been no discussion of Ben going in the helicopter that day or on any other occasion."
Mr Porcelli said: "At no point did Colin McRae seek permission to take Ben in the helicopter."
A number of booklets containing photographs of the crash site were lodged with the court and Sheriff Nikola Stewart was shown video footage taken from the air by Strathclyde Police.
The film showed aircraft wreckage and smoke rising from a wooded area.
The inquiry is expected to last for several months.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...