Helicopter pilot may have seen old map

Published Tuesday, 21 February 2012
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An out-of-date chart might have been consulted by the pilot of a helicopter which crashed killing a friend of the Prince of Wales, an inquest has heard.

Helicopter pilot may have seen old map
The Agusta helicopter crashed near Leitrim Lodge. (© Pacemaker)

Pilot Anthony Smith, 63, the prince's friend Charles Stisted, 47, and another passenger died after the aircraft hit the side of a mist-shrouded mountain in the Mourne Mountains in County Down in October 2010, scattering body parts across a wide area.

A chart on the wall at St. Angelo Airport in Enniskillen, where the pilot waited before picking up his passengers, was out of date and may have been produced in 2008, a witness told the Belfast inquest.

St. Angelo official Alan Cathcart said: "We did clearly mark that the charts were not for navigation purposes."

He added: "They had their own charts and Mr Smith had a chart that was up to date and he would have known that it was the latest chart."

Mr Smith flew over the Mournes despite the lifting of a prohibition on travelling further south over South Armagh and flat land.

It is unclear if he knew it was open to commercial flights.

Mr Cathcart said the chart at St Angelo was for decorative purposes.

Mr Stisted, chief executive of the Guards Polo Club at Windsor, was a passenger on the flight returning to England after attending an exclusive shooting party at an estate in County Tyrone.

Construction company businessman and fellow polo player Ian Wooldridge, 52, and experienced pilot Mr Smith, formerly of the RAF and Army with service in Northern Ireland, also died.

Lawyer Jonathan Chambers said if Mr Smith had looked at the chart at Enniskillen, he might have believed that the prohibited zone still existed.

© UTV News
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