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The helicopter could be seen upside down and partially submerged in the loch. Photo: BBC
The helicopter could be seen upside down and partially submerged in the loch. Photo: BBC

Air accident investigators were due to arrive in the Western Isles today to determine the cause of a helicopter crash in which a pilot transporting a load for the Scottish Salmon Company died.

The type of helicopter involved in the accident. Illustration: PDG
The type of helicopter involved in the accident. Illustration: PDG

The 58-year-old man, who was the only person in the helicopter, was killed when the Eurocopter AS350 Squirrel ditched into Loch Scadavay on North Uist, according to newspaper reports.

Police have not yet named the crash victim. Police Scotland, HM Coastguard, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service all responded to the accident, which was reported at 10.15am, and the A867 was closed between Lochmaddy and Clachan Na Luib.

The helicopter’s owner, PDG Aviation, which has its headquarters in Inverness and a base at Cumbernauld Airport, near Glasgow, confirmed the helicopter was working for the Scottish Salmon Company at the time it crashed but said it had not been carrying live fish.

No previous accidents

Chief executive Jerry Francis told the Scottish Express: “The helicopter was not transporting fish at the time but was conveying a load.

“We are awaiting details of what happened. I do not know what height it may have fallen from into the water. It remains at the loch.

“We are awaiting further information and we are co-operating with the authorities. We have had no other previous accidents with this type of helicopter.”

The islands' SNP MP Angus MacNeil has tweeted: “Devastating and concerning news about the helicopter near Lochmaddy in North Uist.

“Thoughts to all involved and those who are helping on the scene.”

The Scottish Salmon Company has not yet commented on the accident.

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