Pilot killed in helicopter crash

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The Independent Online

A tourist attraction boss is believed to have died in a helicopter crash, police have said.

Mark Weir, 44, the owner of Honister Slate Mine in the mountains of the Lake District, failed to return home last night from a short routine flight.

The aircraft crashed 200 metres south east of the mine in Borrowdale, near Keswick, Cumbria, and was found at 12.44am today. The pilot was discovered dead at the scene.

Police received a call reporting concern for the welfare of Mr Weir, of Cockermouth, at 10.10pm yesterday.

Officers joined members of Cockermouth and Keswick mountain rescue teams in searching the area, assisted by a helicopter from RAF Kinloss.

A Cumbria Police spokeswoman said: "Formal identification is yet to take place however it is believed to be local man Mark Weir. His family have been informed and will be supported by trained family liaison officers.

"Fire and rescue crews attended and the Civil Aviation Authority team from Swanwick has been deployed to lead the crash investigation.

"Police are currently treating the incident as a tragic accident. However, it will be handed over to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch for a thorough investigation."

The working mine is situated near the centre of the Lake District at the top of Honister Pass and regularly attracts visitors on tours to the site billed as "the wettest place in England".

The first confirmed records of slate mining at Honister appeared from the early 1700s, according to its website.