Jack Fenton Brit tourist killed by helicopter blade while trying to take a selfie during luxury vacation in Greece. Prosecutors to launch probe to see if the pilot and ground technicians followed safety protocol which the victim’s traveling cohort claiming they did not.
A death that could’ve been averted? Greek authorities have ordered an inquiry into the death of a 22-year-old British man killed by a spinning rotor blade while disembarking in Athens from a helicopter chartered from Mykonos.
Two ground engineers and the aircraft’s pilot, Christos Fragkopanagos, who had been detained after the incident on Monday, were freed pending the results of the investigation, which is expected to be fast-tracked.
‘Our inquiry has focused on possible negligence,’ a police source said. ‘Basic questions have emerged from witness testimony as to why the blades were not at a standstill when passengers were allowed to disembark on Monday.’
The victim, identified as Jack Fenton, was killed instantly. Greek media reported the man being beheaded. Fenton was due to return to the UK on a private jet after holidaying with his parents on Mykonos.
Greek media reported that the Oxford Brookes University student was struck by the helicopter’s rear rotor while attempting to take a selfie within seconds of the Bell 407 touching down at a helipad near Spata.
A British man who died in a helicopter accident in Greece has been named as Jack Fenton, who was in his early 20s.
— Channel 5 News (@5_News) July 26, 2022
‘unaware that a rotor was still spinning.’
‘We are examining every eventuality, including the possibility of the boy going there to take a selfie in the excitement of the moment,’ a police source said according to Greece’s Kathimerini.
However Jack Stanton-Gleaves, a friend of Fenton’s who was also in the helicopter, told the dailymail that the student was not using his phone when the accident happened.
The Sun reported that the victim was ‘unaware that a rotor was still spinning.’
Fenton’s parents, who were flying behind in a second helicopter, were reportedly unaware of the tragedy when their own pilot was alerted and they were diverted to Athens international airport.
A fleet of waiting limousines had been due to take the group to the airport from the helipad.
The Mykonos-Athens passage has become a popular route for Superior Air, the aviation company that operated the luxury helicopter.
Were all safety measured adopted?
The judicial inquiry was ordered after the results of a police investigation were delivered to the state prosecutor on Tuesday. Greece’s committee for aviation accidents will oversee the findings, on the basis of which criminal charges will be drafted, court sources said.
‘We have interviewed witnesses including the [three] friends who were travelling with him,’ an officer said. ‘The probe will then be sent to the prosecutor who will assume the case.’
The probe will seek to determine whether all safety measures were considered after the chopper landed and if it’s found that the pilot did something wrong, he could be pressed with manslaughter charges.
Told Giorgos Kalliakmanis, the Greek police union’s head: ‘We want to see if the pilot informed the passengers to get off the helicopter. These propellers run for about two minutes from the time he turns the engine off unless he presses a button which stops them at 50 seconds. The helicopter door has no security, anyone who wants to open the door and get out. The preliminary investigation will look at whether the pilot informed them to get out when the propeller and engines stopped.’
Superior Air was quoted as saying that safety protocols had been followed when the helicopter landed in Athens.
The Greek newspaper Proto Thema said landing staff had guided the passengers from the aircraft but Fenton, the first to disembark, unexpectedly turned back and walked towards the helicopter as its engines were still in motion.
Witnesses told police the staff tried to stop Fenton, but he reportedly had his phone to his ear and was walking fast. After the incident, the pilot was able to radio the second helicopter, which diverted course so Fenton’s parents wouldn’t see the grisly scene.
However, his friends gave a different version of events, saying they were not given exit instructions when the aircraft landed.
Police arrested two ground technicians and the pilot of the helicopter and initially charged them with manslaughter, but employees argue they did everything they could to prevent the death.