Four people have perished in a helicopter crash hear Gillinhgam in Norfolk, England, and the boss of Norbrook Laboratories, a major employer in Northern Ireland, Lord Ballyedmond, was among them. The other victims names are being withheld until all relatives have been informed.
It is understood two from County Down have died in the helicopter crash in a wooded area at 7.30pm Friday 13 March. A police spokesman said there was at this stage no indication what caused the crash and that all four died at the scene of the incident.
A team from the Air Accident Investigation Bureau is on the scene. Conditions were foggy when the crash happened.
It is thought that Lord Ballyedmond was Northern Ireland’s richest man.
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) has extended her sympathies to the families of the victims of the helicopter crash in Gillingham.
Ms Ritchie said: “This is a terrible tragedy which has taken the lives of two good men from South Down. Edward Haughey, Lord Ballyedmond, is known to be one of those who sadly lost his life as a result of the crash.
“Dr Haughey’s commitment to this part of the world was absolute. As a talented entrepreneur he brought huge investment and employment to the region, establishing the greatly successful Norbrook Laboratories. And as a man actively interested in civic life, serving as a member of both Seanad Éireann and the British House of Lords.
“Northern Ireland has lost a true ally. I hope to visit the family of the second young man killed in this awful accident. Two families are now grieving for their loved ones and it’s important that we show our support for them at this difficult time.”
South Down SDLP MLA Seán Rogers has also extended his condolences to families as reports are received following the helicopter crash in Norfolk.
Mr Rogers said: “I understand that Lord Ballyedmond of Norbook Laboratories and an employee have died in the helicopter crash in Norfolk overnight.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of both individuals at what must be a horrendous time for them all. This is a dreadful tragedy for the Constituency of South Down.
“Not only was Dr Haughey an entrepreneur but he set up and developed Norbrook Laboratories – a world leader in the field of pharmaceuticals. He also employed many at his Estate at Ballyedmond. He currently employs well over 1000 people in Norbrook. In terms of the economy of South Down – this is mammoth. He started a business in Newry when it really was an employment black spot. He took the risks as he believed in his own area and the skill set that existed.
“My thoughts remain with both families at this very difficult time. “