Pilot killed in helicopter horror crash

By Lisa CleverdonTRIBUTES have been paid to a pilot who was killed in a horrific helicopter crash.Matt Radford, 34, from Worlington, near Mildenhall, died when the Augusta A109 he was flying plummeted into a field near Bournemouth Airport.

By Lisa Cleverdon

TRIBUTES have been paid to a pilot who was killed in a horrific helicopter crash.

Matt Radford, 34, from Worlington, near Mildenhall, died when the Augusta A109 he was flying plummeted into a field near Bournemouth Airport.

Both Mr Radford and his passenger, lawyer Stephen Curtis, were killed instantly when the helicopter hit the ground and burst into flames just a mile from its destination.


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A former Mildenhall Upper School pupil, Mr Radford grew up in Worlington, where he had lived with his parents, Dennis and Gloria.

After leaving home, he started up his helicopter company, Red Aviation, four years ago, which was based at Bournemouth Airport and offered flight training, executive travel and leisure trips.

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Residents in Lark Close, Worlington, were still trying to come to terms last night with the death of their neighbours' son, who was well-known in the village.

Staff at Red Aviation also said in a statement: "We are devastated by the tragic loss of our colleague in Wednesday's accident.

"Matt was an experienced, dedicated commercial pilot and instructor and he will be greatly missed by his friends and the industry as a whole. Our sympathy goes out to the families and friends of the two men."

The helicopter, which was on lease to Red Aviation and was being piloted by Mr Radford, had left Battersea heliport in London and was on the way back from a routine trip when it crashed at about 7.40pm on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Dorset fire service said firefighters had found the helicopter engulfed in flames and added it had disintegrated as a result of the blaze.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch is carrying out inquiries to find out why the Augusta 109 helicopter crashed.

The second man to die in the crash, Stephen Curtis, 45, was the managing director of Russian oil giant Yukos's parent company Menatep, where he was appointed last November following the arrest of its chairman Platon Lebedev on charges of theft of state property.

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

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