Skip to comments.Rally Ace Colin McRae Dies In Helicopter Crash [World Rally Champion]
Posted on 09/15/2007 9:36:02 PM PDT by Spktyr
SCOTTISH rally champion Colin McRae has been killed in a helicopter crash close to his Lanarkshire home.
The Twin Squirrel helicopter registered to the former world champion rally driver came down shortly after 4pm yesterday about 200 yards from his 17th-century mansion.
Police sources said the blue helicopter used by the 39-year-old multi-millionaire had exploded in a "fireball".
Eyewitness David Lowry, who lives nearby, said he watched as the helicopter plunged into a valley.
As many as four people are thought to have died in the crash. Jean-Eric Freudiger, McRae's agent, confirmed McRae had been piloting the helicopter.
Locals said they feared McRae had been travelling with another adult and two children. A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman confirmed there were no survivors. Officers were trying to establish who was on board and where the helicopter was travelling to and from.
"The damage has been so bad that we don't know how many people were on board. It might be one, it might be more," she said. "We just don't know at the moment."
She added that it could be some time before official identifications can be made.
Weather conditions at the time were deteriorating with strengthening winds and light rain. Members of the Department of Transport's Air Accidents Investigation Branch were travelling to the scene at Jerviswood, one mile north of Lanark last night.
The Scottish Ambulance Service confirmed that its own helicopter had been sent to the scene along with three ambulance crews. Strathclyde Fire Brigade also had units in attendance.
David Lowry, 48, who owns New Steadings Farm, just across the Mouse Water from McRae's home, saw the helicopter crash.
He said: "I was speaking to one of my friends on the farm. The helicopter came overhead and then dropped into the valley. After it disappeared I saw smoke rising from the trees and phoned the emergency services. I could not see what happened when it went down. It did not seem to be in any trouble. It was about half a mile from me and the helicopter seemed to be flying normally.
"It was navy blue in colour and I am led to believe it belongs to Colin McRae. It is up so often my cattle don't even flinch when it is overhead."
He added: "I know him well enough to say hello to, although I don't know him personally. If it turns out to be him it will have an unbelievable effect on the local community."
He added: "Colin is a very popular person around here. We only moved here seven years ago, but they are a Lanark family born and bred."
As darkness fell last night, police had erected an incident tent in the woods at the scene of the crash. Officers threw a 600-yard cordon around the house. Friends and relatives of the McRae family were gathering at the home of a neighbour, 300 yards from the McRae home.
McRae, born in Lanark in 1968, was the son of five-time British Rally Champion, Jimmy McRae. He was the first Briton to be named world champion when he won the event in the mid-1990s and was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his outstanding achievements.
He also produced popular and lucrative rally computer games, including Colin McRae Dirt.
McRae bought a home in Monaco in 1995, partly through his friendship with fellow Scot and Formula One driver David Coulthard. However, as his young family grew up, he spent more time back at his home in Lanarkshire, accepting the higher tax liability of living in Scotland. McRae and his wife Alison had two children, Hollie, nine, and five-year-old Johnny.
His brother, Alister, believed to be in Australia at the moment, is also a professional rally driver and has enjoyed some success, including winning the British Rally Championship in 1995.
In addition to the Lanark and Monaco properties, McRae had a home overlooking Lake Geneva and an apartment in Majorca.
He freely admitted enjoying risk-taking, celebrating his first major rallying win, which came in New Zealand, with a bungee-jump over a ravine.
In addition, he drove a Lamborghini and a series of high-powered motorcycles.
This article: http://news.scotsman.com/entertainment.cfm?id=1483222007
Last updated: 16-Sep-07 01:23 BST
McRae was a truly talented driver and he will be missed in the sport.
This is very sad. Too many talented drivers have been killed in general aviation crashes.
Helicopters are unforgiving beasts.
McRae was one of the best race drivers around. He was a great rally car driver and even drove the 24 Hours of LeMans & the Dakar rally. Sadly, not too many folks in the US will have heard of him (He never raced in the 800lb gorilla called NASCAR).
Not only have I not heard of him, but I’ve never heard of a “rally ace” before. Don’t know jack about race drivers.... and not much interested, either.
Rotten way to go, though.
Coulthard survived an airplane crash--escaping out the broken-off front of the plane, past both the deceased pilots. He probably feels safer on the track than in the air.
Sad news about Colin, he will be missed.
I’ve heard of him because he has a couple of video games named after him.
Agreed - if maintained or flown by amateurs..
Virtual angels when piloted by the best and coming to ferry out your wounded from a hot LZ....
His five year old son was reported to be with him on the flight.
So how many spectators and photographers got taken out in the crash?
The other UK rally driver known in America for his branded video games—Richard Burns—is also deceased.
Twin Squirrel helicopter
Only one thing more boring than watching mobile billboards zoom around a track on tv ...and that is watching golf .
Nobody. It was on his own land in Scotland.
” Wrong kind of racing “
Oh , I knew what kind of racing , tracks or roads or trails , I still find it boring to watch , especially on tv . But hey - to each his own .
Sorry you didn't get my lame joke.
The only time most folks here have seen rally car driving is in the video clips on YouTube or Ogrish, when they fly off the road on a curve and mow down half a dozen spectators.
The announcements sidebar is reserved for FreeRepublic business.
I didn’t file/categorize this as announcements, I only checked “Breaking”.
If it came up as announcements, either check the software or ask your moderators because I didn’t have anything to do with it...
A true racing legend. Rally drivers are pretty much the greatest skilled of all racers, because of the conditions they face. Colin was as ballsy a racer as I’ve ever seen. RIP.
Seems like a lot of aircraft going down this year not counting Iraq. Must be five or ten in Alaska.
“...Virtual angels when piloted by the best and coming to ferry out your wounded from a hot LZ....”
Amen to that. I saw a Discovery Channel program on helicopter evacs and they talked about a pilot whos callsign was “Dust-off”. He was one of the best when flying into a really hot LZ. His chopper was finally shot down and Dust-off was killed. In his honor, the preocess of flying in, loading the wounded, and getting out of there was given a term: dust-off.
I agree, may he rest in peace. A loss for the sport (though he was mostly retired) and his young family. Soooo much fun to watch. I am told he loved to take risks, but this doesn't sound like one of them.
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