Eddie Mair 4pm - 6pm
Sister of Brit killed by helicopter blade denies 'rubbish' claims he ignored safety rules
27 July 2022, 07:24 | Updated: 27 July 2022, 12:14
The grieving sister of a British holidaymaker who was killed by a helicopter rotor blade in Greece has hit out at “rubbish” claims he ignored safety rules.
Listen to this article
Greek investigators yesterday claimed Jack Fenton, 22, ran back on to the tarmac after safely disembarking the helicopter in Athens so he could take a photograph, despite warnings from the crew.
They claimed the Oxford Brookes student rushed towards the spinning tail rotor of the helicopter on Monday to take a photograph.
Jack, who was described by his mother Victoria as a “wonderful boy” was killed instantly in the tragedy.
His younger sister Daisy hit out at the “rubbish” claims made by Greek authorities, saying her brother had not been properly briefed by the pilot or ground crew.
She claims he was “cautious and wary” when the accident unfolded.
She told MailOnline: “This was Jack's first ever helicopter ride. So you can imagine how cautious and wary, if anything, he was.
“All the rest, of him running back on the tarmac and violating protocols, is rubbish."
She added: "There were no protocols. They were never told what to do and what not to.”
Jack was flying back from Mykonos with three friends in the 407 bell helicopter when the tragedy unfolded shortly after 6pm.
His devastated mum Victoria called her son a "wonderful boy" and said what happened to him was a "horrible accident".
"We are completely devastated. He was the most wonderful boy," she told MailOnline from her home in Kent.
"I think the pilot is in custody, but it was the most horrible of accidents by the looks of it."
Daisy added: “No one knows exactly what led him back [towards the tail rotor]. Perhaps he forgot something. But the line that he went back to take a selfie is rubbish. It's a lie.”
Jack and his friends were due to fly back home on Monday following their brief trip to the holiday hotspot where they had celebrated a birthday.
Jack Stanton-Gleaves, 20, who was in the helicopter along with friends James Yeabsley, 19, and Max Savage, 20, rejected the police and pilot's version of events.
Jack, whose father Robin Stanton-Gleaves is owner and chairman of National League side Bromley FC and was in a helicopter following behind, told Sun Online "no instructions were given" and claimed no one escorted the group to the lounge.
"We disembarked on our own and no one stopped Jack from going to the rear of the helicopter," he said.
"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."
A second helicopter - containing Robin Stanton-Gleaves, his son Max Stanton-Gleaves, and friend Tom Aitkins - followed behind them.
The pilot of the helicopter and two ground technicians were arrested on Tuesday and have since been released.
The aviation employees could face manslaughter or negligence charges if they knowingly allowed the party to leave the chopper when it was not safe to do so.
Ioannis Kandyllis, president of Greece's committee for aviation accident, said yesterday that Jack defied orders by running back towards the helicopter.
He claimed: “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 was had a phone to his ear and was walking fast to the aircraft, defying ground crew shouting to him 'Stop! Stop!’”
He said the accident occurred within seconds, saying it was “horrific”.
Greek police said they were not ruling out any scenario.
Tributes have since poured in for Jack, who was described as "very popular" by the headteacher of his former school in Maidstone, Kent.
James Thomas, headmaster of Sutton Valence School, said: "Our school was very sad to hear the tragic news about Jack this morning.
"He was a very popular member of the community, and we have sent our condolences to the family.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the incident."
A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Greece and are in contact with the local authorities."