Witchford crash pilot named

PUBLISHED: 15:05 16 January 2012

Helicopter Crash, Lancaster Way, Witchford

Helicopter Crash, Lancaster Way, Witchford

Archant

A HELICOPTER pilot killed in a crash in Witchford has been named.

Robert Crofts-Bolster, 50, of High Street, Brasted, in Kent, died after his helicopter came down in a field near the Lancatser Way Business Park on January 6.

It is believed that the 50-year-old was on his way to an airfield in Spalding, Lincolnshire when the crash happened, shortly before 11.30am.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death was confirmed by the Coroner for North and East Cambridgeshire, William Morris, as multiple traumatic injuries.

An inquest into the death will be opened and adjourned on Tuesday at York Row in Wisbech.

Police said the rotors were broken off in the crash, with parts of the helicopter strewn across several neighbouring fields.

Witnesses reported seeing the helicopter plummet to the ground from about 500ft before breaking into pieces upon impact.

Wayne Boyd, who works for Michell Instruments on Lancaster Way, said: “I was working outside when I heard a loud bang, I turned around and saw the helicopter nose-diving to the floor, there was no smoke coming from it.

“It was at least five or six hundred feet in the ear when I heard a bang, and it just went straight down from there. There was a 4x4 that raced straight over to it and I think there was a hunt going on at the time as well.”

Pat Masterson, from Stretham, who was walking his dog in the field at the time, said: “As the helicopter was directly above me there was some sort of explosion and when I looked up I could see that it was clearly starting to come down.

“When I saw that I made a bee-line for the dog and got out of the way.

“I expected it to explode when it came down but it just made a thud.

“I put the dog inside a house and ran over to the helicopter but it was clear that the pilot was dead.

“There are lots of houses and businesses nearby so I suppose it was fortunate that it went down where it did.”

Oliver Pym, who was carrying out refurbishment work on Lancaster Way, said: “We turned round when we heard a helicopter coming towards us and all of a sudden it stuttered and made a loud bang and then seemed to fold up and fall to the ground.

“It was quite a shocking thing to see, you just never expect anything like that to happen. I think it was probably lucky that it went down in the field and not further on nearer to houses”

The Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) took control of the crash scene from police shortly after 5pm and worked through the night to establish the cause of the accident.

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