Jack Fenton: British tourist, 22, killed by helicopter blade ‘while on his phone’

Greek police have arrested the pilot as investigations into the accident begin

Thomas Kingsley
Tuesday 26 July 2022 19:17 BST
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Investigators are looking at whether a young British tourist who died after being struck by helicopter blades in Greece rushed back to the aircraft while on his phone.

Jack Fenton, 22, was caught in the horrific accident on Monday evening just before 6.30pm, after stepping off the helicopter at a private airport in Spata, near Athens, having joined three friends on holiday.

It is understood he was the first to leave the Bell 407 helicopter, which had flown from the island of Mykonos, and was hit in the head by its rear rotor blade.

The pilot and two ground crew are reported to have been arrested but later released, pending further inquiry.

Mr Fenton’s mother, Victoria, described her son as wonderful and said that the family from Tonbridge, in Kent, were devastated.

“We only found out what happened at 10pm last night,” she told MailOnline. “We are completely devastated. He was the most wonderful boy.

“I think the pilot is in custody, but it was the most horrible of accidents by the looks of it.”

Ioannis Kandyllis, president of Greece’s committee for aviation accidents, which is investigating the incident, said witnesses he spoke to described Mr Fenton holding a phone to his ear as he headed back towards the helicopter.

“All four passengers had disembarked and were escorted to a private lounge awaiting a private flight for London,” Mr Kandyllis said.

“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 to the aircraft quickly, defying ground crew shouting to him, ‘Stop! Stop!’

“Within seconds the tragic accident occurred. It was horrific.”

Jack Fenton was said to be attempting to take a selfie when the accident occurred (Supplied)

Mr Fenton, a former Oxford Brookes university student who previously attended Sutton Valence boarding school in Kent where fees are more than £30,000 a year, had been on holiday in Greece before the incident.

According to a LinkedIn page, he was a junior account executive at a social media marketing firm.

Police have confirmed that investigations are underway and have said they are “doing everything to understand what went wrong and how this tragic incident occurred”.

The party was due to fly back to Britain from Athens airport (Getty )

According to local reports, the pilot and two ground technicians appeared before a prosecutor, testifying in connection to the incident, and were subsequently released.

“All three face charges of negligent homicide,” a spokesman for the Greek police said.

“How the accident happened is still under investigation. It was a very unfortunate incident. We hope that the British man’s family will stay strong.”

Mr Fenton’s companions, all men in their twenties, are understood to have given evidence to investigators and local media said all three had returned to the UK.

A police source told The Sun: “We are talking about a tragedy – an unprecedented tragedy that never should have happened.

“The cause is being investigated but it remains unclear why this happened or was allowed to happen when rotor blades pose such an obvious danger.”

Reports suggest the investigation will cover how the passengers were allowed to get off the helicopter while the rotor blades were still in motion.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Greece and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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