British helicopter victim, 22, was NOT trying to take a selfie when he tragically died

British helicopter victim, 22, was NOT trying to take a selfie when he tragically died, Greek investigators admit after his sister furiously denied the ‘rubbish’ claim

  • Greek investigators ruled out the ‘rubbish’ claim made against tragic helicopter victim Jack Fenton, 22
  • The British tourist was struck in the head by helicopter’s rotor blade after a flight from Mykonos to Athens
  • Air accident investigators are now exploring the theory that Jack forgot his mobile phone while disembarking 
  • Greek police had said he ran back on to the tarmac with his phone to take a selfie after exiting the helicopter
  • But friend Jack Stanton-Gleaves rubbished their version of events and said he was not on his phone
  • Sister Daisy Fenton, 20, also said her brother was ‘cautious and wary’ and disputed the police claims

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Investigators have ruled out the possibility that Greek helicopter victim Jack Fenton was attempting to take a selfie when he tragically died.

Police and air accident investigators are now exploring the theory that the 22-year-old former public schoolboy forgot his mobile phone while disembarking from the helicopter and rushed back to get it, accidentally turning towards its spinning tail after retrieving it.

A spokesman for Greek police told MailOnline: ‘Our investigation is continuing but one of the major areas that we are exploring is that Jack forgot his mobile phone on the helicopter and that’s why he suddenly returned to it.

‘We are still in the process of completing our interviews but a number of eyewitnesses saw him with a mobile phone in his hand, moments before he was killed. Once our investigation has been completed, we will send the file to the prosecutor who will decide if there are to be any charges.’

The 22-year-old (pictured with his father) was killed by a spinning helicopter blade

Daisy Fenton (pictured) the grieving sister of Greek helicopter victim Jack Fenton has furiously hit back at claims he recklessly defied security regulations and caused his own horrific death

Daisy Fenton (right) the grieving sister of Greek helicopter victim Jack Fenton (left, pictured with his father) has furiously hit back at claims he recklessly defied security regulations and caused his own horrific death 

Jack Fenton (circled) is pictured on holiday in Mykonos with his friends before the tragic accident. Also pictured is Max Savage (left), Jack Stanton-Gleaves (top), Max Stanton-Gleaves (middle left), Tom Aitkin (middle right) and Robin Stanton-Gleaves (right)

Jack Fenton (circled) is pictured on holiday in Mykonos with his friends before the tragic accident. Also pictured is Max Savage (left), Jack Stanton-Gleaves (top), Max Stanton-Gleaves (middle left), Tom Aitkin (middle right) and Robin Stanton-Gleaves (right)

Ioannis Kondylis, Chairman of Greece’s Accident Investigation and Flight Safety Committee, which is investigating the accident, revealed in an interview with local media: ‘From the testimonies we have collected, it does not appear from anywhere that the young man wanted to take a selfie but he found himself at the back of the helicopter.

‘What is reported is that the 22-year-old was holding a mobile phone and had it to his ear, but it has not yet been clarified whether he was talking or simply returning to join his friends.’

Jack, a former pupil at the £36,000-a-year Sutton Valence boarding school near his home in Kent, was travelling with a group of friends in two private Bell 407 helicopters, where they were scheduled to take a chauffeur ride to the airport for a private jet back to London.

The group had just been on holiday on the party island of Mykonos and had landed on a helipad run by Superior Air just outside Athens on Monday night.

Greek authorities yesterday suggested the 22-year-old former public schoolboy rushed towards the spinning tail rotor of the helicopter (pictured) in Athens to take a selfie and was killed instantly

Greek authorities yesterday suggested the 22-year-old former public schoolboy rushed towards the spinning tail rotor of the helicopter (pictured) in Athens to take a selfie and was killed instantly

Pilot Christos Fragkopanagos has been named by local media as the pilot who has been asked to testify over yesterday's tragedy

Pilot Christos Fragkopanagos has been named by local media as the pilot who has been asked to testify over yesterday’s tragedy

The dismissal of the ‘selfie’ theory by Greek officials follows denials by Jack’s sister Daisy and friends that he was attempting to take one when tragedy struck.

Daisy told MailOnline: ‘No one knows exactly what led him back [towards the tail rotor]. Perhaps he forgot something. But the line that he went back to take a selfie is rubbish. It’s a lie.’

Jack’s friend Jack Stanton-Gleaves, who was in the same helicopter which had flown from Mykonos, also hit back at the police version of events.

Mr Kondylis also provided a more detailed account of the moments leading up to Jack’s death and said that staff from the air company that flew them to Athens insisted that all safety protocols were followed.

He said: ‘We have taken statements from both the pilot and the two ground staff. These are testimonies that must then be cross-referenced. According to them, it appears that all the regulations stipulated by the helicopter’s manual were observed. That is, as they said, one ground employee went to the left door, one to the right, they disembarked and escorted them 20 meters to the building.

He added: ‘The young passenger, unknown for what reason, returned to the helicopter. We don’t know why he came back. What is written and said about selfies is baseless, he didn’t say anything to anyone. According to the testimonies, he was holding a mobile phone which he had to his ear, without us knowing if he was talking to someone.’

Mr Kondylis claimed that after one of the ground staff saw Jack walking back towards the helicopter he shouted in English: ‘stop, stop, stop.’

He added: ‘The ground staff’s voices were also heard by the captain who was inside the helicopter and was wearing headphones. So they shout out loud.’

The air safety chief claimed that according to eye-witnesses, after returning to the helicopter to possibly retrieve something, Jack was on the left side of the helicopter and then went under the tail section when he was hit by its rotor, which was still spinning.

Emergency services are pictured on Monday night at the scene of the incident involving the Briton who died when a rear helicopter rotor hit him in Spata, near Athens, Greece

Emergency services are pictured on Monday night at the scene of the incident involving the Briton who died when a rear helicopter rotor hit him in Spata, near Athens, Greece

According to Greek legal sources, a total of ten statements have been taken from eye witnesses, some of whom were passengers waiting to board another helicopter that was about to take them to the Greek islands.

Mr Kondylis also revealed that investigators have still not viewed cctv from the helipad and are not even sure if the accident was recorded by cameras.

He admitted: ‘There is a camera outside the waiting hall. We do not know if this camera has a memory card. We have submitted a request to the Police to examine whether there is audio-visual material, which would help us understand the circumstances of the accident.’

Investigators have also applied for permission to a Greek court for Jack’s mobile phone records to establish if he was speaking to anyone at the time of the accident.

Pictured: The Bell 407 which was involved in the accident, with red police tape wrapped around the tail

Pictured: The Bell 407 which was involved in the accident, with red police tape wrapped around the tail 

The tourists had flown from Mykonos to the helipad in Spata and were due to take a private limousine to Eleftherios Venizelos airport

The tourists had flown from Mykonos to the helipad in Spata and were due to take a private limousine to Eleftherios Venizelos airport

Pilot Christos Fragkopanagos, head of training at Superior Air in Athens, was at the controls of the ill-fated helicopter.

Fragkopanagos, head of training at Superior Air in Athens, and ground technicians Salim Milat and Spyros Andriopoulos were arrested but later released by police after giving statements testifying that Jack was escorted inside the airport before he ran back outside.

The trio could face negligence or manslaughter charges if they told the passengers to disembark when it was not safe.

Daisy added: ‘No one knows exactly what led him back [towards the tail rotor]. Perhaps he forgot something. But the line that he went back to take a selfie is rubbish. It’s a lie.’

She also stuck up for the Oxford Brookes student’s character, saying: ‘Jack wasn’t some rich, obnoxious kid. He was invited on this holiday. It was his first helicopter ride ever.’

The Oxford Brookes university student, who went to the £36,000-a-year Sutton Valence boarding school in Maidstone, Kent, walked behind the Bell 407 helicopter while its engine was still engaged

The Oxford Brookes university student, who went to the £36,000-a-year Sutton Valence boarding school in Maidstone, Kent, walked behind the Bell 407 helicopter while its engine was still engaged

She said her parents, Miguel and Victoria and other family members were all in the UK and that the helicopter following Jack included the father of one of his friends, businessman and Bromley FC chairman Robin Stanton-Gleaves.

The group included six in total. The others returned to the UK late Tuesday.

She said there were no plans for the family to come to Greece.

‘We are just waiting for his remains to be shipped back. But we still do not know when that will be.’

Pilot Christos Fragkopanagos, head of training at Superior Air in Athens, was at the controls of the ill-fated helicopter.

The young Briton horrifically killed in a helicopter accident in Athens was on holiday with a group of friends

The young Briton horrifically killed in a helicopter accident in Athens was on holiday with a group of friends

Fragkopanagos (pictured), head of training at Superior Air in Athens, and ground technicians Salim Milat and Spyros Andriopoulos were arrested but later released by police

Fragkopanagos (pictured), head of training at Superior Air in Athens, and ground technicians Salim Milat and Spyros Andriopoulos were arrested but later released by police

Fragkopanagos, head of training at Superior Air in Athens, and ground technicians Salim Milat and Spyros Andriopoulos were arrested but later released by police after giving statements testifying that Jack was escorted inside the airport before he ran back outside. 

The trio could face negligence or manslaughter charges if they told the passengers to disembark when it was not safe. 

But Jack Stanton-Gleaves, 20, who was in the helicopter along with friends James Yeabsley, 19, and former Bournemouth University student Max Savage, 20, rubbished the authorities’ version of events.

Jack told MailOnline: ‘No instructions were given when exiting the helicopter and no one escorted us to the lounge. All they did was open the doors for us. 

‘We disembarked on our own and no one stopped Jack from going to the rear of the helicopter. None of us reached the lounge before the accident happened.

‘I’ve heard people say Jack was on his phone and ran back to the helicopter and this is totally untrue. He was not on his phone and why he turned towards the rear of the helicopter I don’t know.’

Jack’s mother Victoria, speaking from her home in Tonbridge, Kent, told MailOnline how the family are ‘completely devastated’ by the loss of their ‘wonderful boy’.

Ioannis Kandyllis, president of Greece’s committee for aviation accidents probing the incident, said yesterday that Jack defied orders by running back towards the helicopter with his phone to his ear.

He claimed: ‘All four passengers had disembarked and were escorted to a private lounge awaiting a private flight for London.

‘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 was had a phone to his ear and was walking fast to the aircraft, defying ground crew shouting to him ‘Stop! Stop!’

‘Within seconds the tragic accident occurred. It was horrific.’

Emergency services were called to the private heliport on the outskirts of the Greek capital but the 22-year-old is thought to have been killed instantly.

Greek investigators will study the footage from a surveillance camera at the landing field for evidence.

They revealed there were several other people who witnessed the tragedy from the lounge.

‘They have yet to be interviewed but we will reach out to them to gather additional testimony as we piece this puzzle together’ an aviation official said.

His mother Victoria said yesterday: ‘We only found out what happened at 10pm last night. We are completely devastated. He was the most wonderful boy.

‘It was the most horrible of accidents by the looks of it.

‘Jack had travelled to Greece with some of his friends, a couple who were celebrating birthdays out there.

The man reportedly walked behind the Bell 407 helicopter while its engines were still engaged and was struck by the aircraft's tail rotor

The man reportedly walked behind the Bell 407 helicopter while its engines were still engaged and was struck by the aircraft’s tail rotor

Emergency services were called to the private heliport on the outskirts of the Greek capital but the 22-year-old was killed instantly

Emergency services were called to the private heliport on the outskirts of the Greek capital but the 22-year-old was killed instantly 

Jack's three friends - Yeabsley, Savage and Stanton Gleaves - returned to Britain in a private jet from Athens' Spata airport  (pictured: the scene yesterday)

Jack’s three friends – Yeabsley, Savage and Stanton Gleaves – returned to Britain in a private jet from Athens’ Spata airport  (pictured: the scene yesterday)

Police sources did not reveal the family involved but it is understood they are extremely wealthy and were enjoying a holiday on the luxury Greek island of Mykonos (pictured)

Police sources did not reveal the family involved but it is understood they are extremely wealthy and were enjoying a holiday on the luxury Greek island of Mykonos (pictured)

The rotors tend to continue for around two minutes after the engine has been switched off, unless the pilot presses a button to stop them at around 50 seconds.

Pilots should thoroughly brief their passengers to stay inside until all movement has ceased, but the helicopter has no locks and no crew other than the pilot to shepherd the passengers.

The President of the Union of Police Officers of Southeast Attica George Kaliakmanis told MailOnline: ‘To my knowledge the type of helicopter Bell 407 doesn’t lock from the inside.

‘So now the investigation will focus on the safety measures taken from the pilot. Did he tell them to wait or not?

‘There are two propellers on the helicopter. One that operates on 500 turns/second and one that operates at 2500 turns/second. These propellers run for about 2 minutes from the time he turns the engine off unless he presses a button which stops them at 50 seconds. Also keep in mind that the propellers are not visible because of the speed.’

Sources said the 115-mile trip in two helicopters would have cost more than £15,000.

Source

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