Helicopter pilot on trial over accident in Alps

Helicopter pilot on trial over accident in Alps


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A 36-year-old helicopter pilot went on trial last Thursday morning for a freak accident in which nine people including six children died in the Austrian Alps last September, news reports said. The pilot, identified only as Markus J., was accused of negligently causing public danger and bodily harm “in particularly dangerous circumstances.” The charge carries a maximum penalty of fine years’ jail. The accident happened while he was flying over a mountain gondola lift. A load of concrete he was transporting came loose and fell on top of one of the gondolas. The charge sheet on last Thursday said the accused had broken regulations by flying over the lift at Soelden in the Alps in Austria’s province of Tyrol on September 5 last year. His helicopter was carrying a bucket-like container with concrete weighing 680 kilograms suspended from a 13-metre wire. Among the nine people who died, all German tourists, were six children aged between 12 and 14. Seven others were seriously injured.

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