In what appears to have been an unfortunate accident, a 22-year-old British man walked right into the tail rotor blades of the private helicopter he and his friends were riding in Monday. He was immediately killed.
Updated Wednesday July 27, 2:55 p.m. EST - Friends of Fenton who rode in the same helicopter are disputing officials’ claim that Fenton died while attempting to take a selfie. You can find an update on this story here.
In what sounds like a terrible end to a very nice holiday, victim Jack Fenton and three of his friends, along with Fenton’s parents, had rented two private helicopters for a summer vacation filled with hopping to various posh islands in Greece. The friends rode in one helicopter, while the parents traveled in the other. The group was heading to the Athens Airport Eleftherios Venizelos to take a private plane back to Britain, according to the Greek news outlet Kathimerini.
Fenton was the first to disembark the helicopter. He and his friends were escorted to a private lounge to wait for transportation to their plane. Fenton broke away from the group and returned to the helipad without an escort in order to reportedly take a selfie, according to the Times.
Jack Fenton, 22, from Kent, had walked towards the rear of the helicopter, apparently to take a selfie, after flying from the island of Mykonos to a private helipad near Athens yesterday evening.
A senior police source told The Times: “He [Fenton] was the first to disembark the Bell 407 helicopter in Athens and as he moved to the back, he was hit in the head by the aircraft’s small rear rotor. There was no chance of him surviving. His death was instantaneous.”
Witnesses told police the staff tried to stop Fenton, but he reportedly had his phone to his ear and was walking fast. After the incident, the pilot was able to radio the second helicopter, which diverted course so Fenton’s parents wouldn’t see the grisly scene. Police arrested two ground technicians and the pilot of the helicopter and initially charged them with manslaughter, but employees argue they did everything they could to prevent the death.
Correction: Original reports stated that Fenton’s parents were in the second helicopter. The parents accompanying the younger travelers actually belonged to one of Fenton’s friends. We regret the error.