A 22-year-old British tourist has been chopped to death by a helicopter blade on the way home from a luxury vacation on the high-end party island of Mykonos.
Jack Fenton found himself in the path of the moving rotorblade at the rear of the helicopter in Spata, according to Greek newspaper Kathimerini. The family were due to board a private jet after the helicopter returned them to the mainland.
The helicopter pilot and two ground technicians were taken into custody on Tuesday morning on pending charges of manslaughter, according to the Peania Police Department. But the Athens District Attorney’s office released them after hearing testimony that they had warned the young man to get away from the helicopter, according to Protothema News.
After checking surveillance footage and interviewing workers, Greece’s Aviation Safety and Accident Investigation Board determined that Fenton safely disembarked and then turned back and ran towards the helicopter. “They shouted to him to stop but he was going towards the helicopter” an eyewitness to the accident told the board. It is unclear what would have motivated him to return.
An investigation is underway into why the area around the moving blade was not secured, and why the passengers were allowed to roam the area while the helicopter was still in operation when the unthinkable end to a luxury family vacation with friends occurred. His phone was also destroyed in the accident, Greek media reported.
“He 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,” a senior police official told The Times of London.
The horrific accident happened after two privately rented helicopters —estimated to run up a price tag of nearly $18,000—carrying a group of Britons prepared to land on a helicopter pad after flying in from the island of Mykonos, police said in a press statement.
Fenton and his friends were in the first helicopter to land and Fenton’s parents and other friends were in a second helicopter that was following the first. After the young man was killed, the second pilot made a snap decision not to land and instead flew to Athens where they were met by authorities who told them of their son’s fate.
It is unclear whether they witnessed their son’s tragic accident.
Fenton has been described in the British press as an Oxford Brookes student who previously attended the exclusive Sutton Valence boarding school in Maidstone, Kent.