Northern Ireland

Belfast inquest hears crash helicopter's warning system 'not turned on'

Helicopter crash recovery
Image caption The helicopter came down in an area known locally as Leitrim Lodge

A system warning of high ground was not turned on before a helicopter crashed in County Down, killing three men, an inquest has heard.

Charles Stisted, Ian Wooldridge, and their pilot Anthony Smith died when their aircraft hit Shanlieve Mountain in the Mournes in October 2010.

They were from England and had been in Northern Ireland for a day of shooting.

The helicopter crashed in an area known locally as Leitrim Lodge, between Hilltown and Rostrevor.

A lawyer for the inquiry, Ronan Daly, told the inquest in Belfast that the helicopter had a ground proximity warning system.

"It was not actually in use, it was not the requirement for a helicopter to operate that it should be using the system and the alerts that the system would (produce) could be regarded as a nuisance to those on board," he added.

One of the deceased, Mr Stisted, was chief executive of the Guards Polo Club at Windsor and a personal friend of the Prince of Wales.

Mr Wooldridge, who was also a Guards Polo Club member, was a prominent figure in Harcourt Developments, the Dublin-based company involved in the development of the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.

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