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Mum’s tribute to ‘wonderful’ Brit, 22, killed by helicopter blades on holiday

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A DEVASTATED mother has paid tribute to her “wonderful” son after the 22-year-old was killed by a high-speed helicopter rotor blade.

Horrified onlookers screamed at Jack Fenton to stop as he reportedly attempted to take a selfie on his phone in front of the aircraft in Athens.

Jack Fenton, 22, was killed after being struck by the chopper's rear rotor

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Jack Fenton, 22, was killed after being struck by the chopper’s rear rotorCredit: facebook
The Brit was killed instantly by a sweeping blade after disembarking from the chopper

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The Brit was killed instantly by a sweeping blade after disembarking from the chopperCredit: Athena

But he was struck by the craft’s rear blade, which was spinning at up to 500 rotations a second and would have been virtually invisible.

The pilot of the black Bell 407 craft – who is said to be “deeply traumatised” by the incident – and two ground technicians have been arrested.

Mum Victoria called her son a “wonderful boy” and said what happened to him was a “horrible accident”.

“We only found out what happened at 10pm last night,” she told MailOnline.

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“We are completely devastated. He was the most wonderful boy.

“I think the pilot is in custody, but it was the most horrible of accidents by the looks of it.”

She said Jack had travelled to Greece with some of his friends to celebrate a birthday.

“He had got off safely when it landed in Athens but for some reason went back behind the helicopter and it was the rear propeller which killed him. It was instant,” she added.

Greek police said they were not ruling out any scenario.

A police source told The Sun: “We are examining every eventuality, including the possibility of the boy going there to take a selfie in the excitement of the moment.”

Jack was travelling back from Mykonos with three pals in the hired chopper when tragedy struck.

He was hit by the rotor after the aircraft landed at the Superior Air helipad in Spata.

His fellow passengers and the pilot then reeled in horror as they saw a sweeping blade kill him instantly at around 6.20pm local time.

Desperate family members and the authorities are now trying to piece together exactly what happened.

His pal Jack Stanton-Gleaves, who was in the same helicopter, said “no instructions were given” while exiting the chopper – and said he doesn’t know why his friend turned towards the rear blade.

MUM’S HEARTBREAK

Greek authorities have claimed the group were led away from the helicopter, and say Jack was then on his phone as he moved quickly back towards the helicopter.

Mr Stanton-Gleaves told Sun Online: “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 was travelling with pals in his chopper, while a second helicopter – containing Robin Stanton-Gleaves, owner of Bromley FC, his son Max Stanton-Gleaves, and pal Tom Aitkins – followed behind them.

Some reports claim Jack started to move back away from the reception and towards the helicopter – despite those around him shouting at him to stop.

We are completely devastated. He was the most wonderful boy

Ioannis Kandyllis, president of Greece’s committee for aviation accidents – which is probing the incident – said Jack headed back towards the helicopter “at pace”.

He said: “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 had a phone to his ear and was walking to the aircraft quickly, defying ground crew shouting to him, ‘Stop! Stop!’

“Within seconds the tragic accident occurred. It was horrific.”

It’s understood Jack – who studied sports coaching and PE at Oxford Brookes and previously attended the £7,740-a-year Sutton Valance School in Kent – “suffered horrific head injuries caused by a spinning rotor blade”.

After Jack was struck, the shocked pilot managed to radio the second craft and requested emergency permission to abort the landing.

A police source added: “We are talking about a tragedy – an unprecedented tragedy, a tragedy that should never have happened.”

Jack Fenton pictured with his dad Miguel

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Jack Fenton pictured with his dad MiguelCredit: facebook
Jack and his mum Victoria - who remembered him as a 'wonderful boy'

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Jack and his mum Victoria – who remembered him as a ‘wonderful boy’Credit: facebook
Cops are probing whether Jack may have been taking a selfie when he was killed

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Cops are probing whether Jack may have been taking a selfie when he was killedCredit: Athena

Sources said the group’s 115-mile trip in two helicopters from their holiday in Mykonos would have cost more than £15,000 alone.

And limousines were on standby at the Lolo Heliport at Spata on the outskirts of Athens to whisk the group straight to a “family-owned private jet” waiting to fly them back from the Greek capital’s international airport.

Giorgos Kalliakmanis, the head of the Greek police union, said the investigation will focus on whether correct safety procedures were followed.

The helicopter’s pilot could face manslaughter charges if he was deemed to be at fault, Kalliakmanis told the Mega news channel.

He said: “We want to see if the pilot informed the passengers to get off the helicopter.

“These propellers run for about two minutes from the time he turns the engine off unless he presses a button which stops them at 50 seconds. 

“The helicopter door has no security, anyone who wants to open the door and get out. 

“The preliminary investigation will look at whether the pilot informed them to get out when the propeller and engines stopped.”

‘UNPRECEDENTED TRAGEDY’

Accident investigators probing the tragedy are questioning the chopper pilot as to why the rotors were not still or secured before passengers were allowed off.

The weather may have also contributed as high winds were reported across Greece, as well as searing 40C heat on Monday.

Two airport officials and the pilot have today appeared before a prosecutor to testify in connection with potential negligence charges.

The pals Jack flew with – reportedly all men in their 20s – have all provided testimonies.

Jack had started work as a junior account executive at Ball Street Network – a media company in Southwark, South London – in March.

A spokesman told The Sun: “Our team is in shock having just found out about this tragic news.

“We do not wish to comment further, other than to ask that the privacy of the family is respected at this difficult time.

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“Our love and thoughts are with Jack’s family and friends.”

An FCDO spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Greece and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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They were travelling in a pair of black Bell 407 helicopters

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They were travelling in a pair of black Bell 407 helicoptersCredit: PHOTO NIKOS DANIILIDIS



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