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Colin McRae and son die in helicopter crash


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Colin McRae and son die in helicopter crash

By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent

Last Updated: 6:24pm BST 16/09/2007


Former world rally driving champion Colin McRae and his five-year-old son have been killed in a helicopter crash just 200 yards from his home.


McRae was at the controls of his own Twin Squirrel helicopter on a trip with his son Johnny and two family friends, including another child, when it crashed near his 17th century mansion.



Colin McRae was awarded an MBE in 1996[/float]All four died instantly as the aircraft exploded in a fireball after plunging into trees in the Lanarkshire countryside.


The other passengers were six-year-old Ben Porcelli from Lanark, a friend of McRae's son, and 37-year-old Graeme Duncan, who lives in France and was visiting the family.


The rally driver's wife Alison and his daughter Hollie, eight, are thought to have been away at a horse riding event at the time.


The accident happened in poor weather, with low clouds and rain, but the cause of the crash is not known.


Eyewitnesses reported hearing unusual noises coming from the engine before the accident.


Strathclyde Police said the group had been on a short outing to the nearby village of Quarter and were returning to McRae's estate at Jerviswood when the accident happened just after 4pm on Saturday.


Denis Lowry, 48, a farmer who lives nearby, called the emergency services after seeing the helicopter plunge into a valley and smoke rising from the crash site.


He said: "I could not see what happened when it went down. It was about half a mile from me and seemed to be flying normally.


"We are used to seeing it in the area. The helicopter is up so often my cattle don't even flinch when it is overhead.


"This will have an unbelievable effect on the community. Colin was a very popular person around here."


One of the best-known names in Scottish sport, McRae became the first British driver to win the world rally championship, and also the youngest winner, when he took the title in a Subaru in 1995.

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