Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crash helicopter pilot's wife is sued by widow

The family of a man killed in a horrific helicopter crash are suing the widow of the pilot at the controls.

Charles Stisted, a close friend of Prince Charles, William and Harry, died when the craft smashed into a mountain in Northern Ireland on the way back from a hunting trip.

The 47-year-old father-of-two was killed alongside pilot Anthony Smith and the aircraft's co-owner, construction tycoon Ian Wooldridge.

Today Mr Stisted's grieving wife Melissa revealed she is suing Mr Smith's widow, Angela, as well as Mr Wooldridge's family, for £300,000. They believe the pilot was negligent.

According to a writ at the High Court, Mrs Stisted holds the Wooldridges responsible for employing Mr Smith.

They believe the pilot made a series of errors at the controls of the Agusta A109A 11 which led to the crash in October 2010. The men had been shooting pheasants on the Baronscourt Estate near Omagh before the crash happened. Mr Smith was flying the helicopter when it struck Shanlieve mountain around 100 feet below the summit at a speed of 150 knots.

But Ian and Graham Wooldridge should be held responsible for the failings of the pilot they employed, a High Court writ says.

He had not tried to slow down, swerve, climb or avoid the collision, according to a report from the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

The writ claims that the accident was caused by the pilot's negligence.

Mrs Stisted, from Fulham, and their children Frederick, 14, and Allegra, 11, are suing Ian Wooldridge's surviving brother, Graham, and the executors of his estate, Julie Thomas and Charlotte Wooldridge.

The family alleged that Mr Smith failed to consult charts of the terrain of his intended route, failed to plot a route which avoided obstacles, failed to plan the flight properly, and failed to take account of the mountain.

Mrs Stisted also accuses him of failing to ensure the flight could be safely completed, and failing to ensure the navigation database was updated. Mrs Stisted says Mr Wooldridge should have changed course or turned back, and he also failed to use a "ground proximity warning system".

The Wooldridge brothers ran a firm specializing in demolition and construction which made annual profits of around £40million.

Ian Wooldridge lived on a 230-acre estate in Windlesham, Surrey, and he was a keen polo player and member of the Guards Club, of which Mr Stisted was the head.

No comments:

Post a Comment