Fish farm pilot killed in helicopter crash

A PILOT has died after his helicopter crashed into a Western Isles loch, the Press and Journal reported. The aircraft, which had just one person on board, was believed to be carrying out work for the Scottish Salmon Company, which has farms in the area.

Emergency and coastguard teams were sent to Loch Scadavay in North Uist at 10.15am yesterday after the AS350 squirrel aircraft plunged into the water.

An Air Accident Investigations Branch spokesman said a team of five people – including three inspectors – has been sent to investigate the accident and they are expected to arrive today.

Jerry Francis, chief executive of the pilot’s employer, Inverness based PDG Aviation Services, said: ‘It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of one of our pilots following the crash of an AS350B2 helicopter whilst undertaking load lifting tasking yesterday.The incident occurred in North Uist at about 10:15.

‘We are working closely and tirelessly with the authorities to identify the cause of the incident. Our deepest sympathy is with the pilot’s family and friends at this difficult time.’

The Scottish Salmon Company has a number of sites in the Outer Hebrides, including at Langass, which has a hatchery and is near Loch Scadavay.

Coastguard teams from Stornoway, Benbecula, Tarbert, Scalpay, Griminish and Lochboisdale were sent to the scene, alongside a search and rescue helicopter based in Stornoway.

Last night, Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil told the Press and Journal: ‘It is extremely sad news and my heart goes out to the family and friends of the person involved. They were also doing an important job for the islands at the time.’

Picture: Scene of the accident (picture courtesy BBC)

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