Pals of Brit killed by helicopter blade deny he was taking selfie when he died

Pals of a Brit tourist who was fatally struck in the head by a helicopter rotor blade have denied he was taking a selfie when he died.

Jack Fenton, 22, was hit by the rear propellor of a Bell 407 helicopter when its engine was still engaged at an airport in Athens.

Jack and his three pals had just flown back from the island of Mykonos with the pilot Christos Fragkopanagos.

The group had reportedly just celebrated Jack’s 22nd birthday on the party island.

Fragkopanagos and ground technicians at the airport were arrested but have since been released.

They told police that Jack was escorted into the airport and then ran back outside, Mail Online reports.

Greek police also claimed the youngster ran back to the helicopter to take a selfie, despite warnings from the crew.

Ioannis Kandyllis, head of Greece’s air accident investigations committee, said witnesses saw Jack holding a phone to his ear at the time of the accident.

However, the 22-year-old’s pal Jack Stanton-Gleaves has rubbished the claims.

He said: “No instructions were given when exiting the helicopter and no one escorted us to the lounge. All they did was open the doors for us.

“‘We disembarked on our own and no one stopped Jack from going to the rear of the helicopter. None of us reached the lounge before the accident happened.

“I’ve heard people say Jack was on his phone and ran back to the helicopter and this is totally untrue. He was not on his phone and why he turned towards the rear of the helicopter I don’t know.”

Jack’s heartbroken mother Victoria said the family was “completely devastated” by his death and described him as a “wonderful boy”.

She said her son, who studied at Oxford Brooks University, was killed instantly by the rear propeller.

The headmaster at Jack’s old school in Maidstone, Kent, has paid tribute to his former pupil, describing him as a “very popular member of the community”.

James Thomas, headmaster of Sutton Valence School, said: “Our school was very sad to hear the tragic news about Jack this morning.

“He was a very popular member of the community, and we have sent our condolences to the family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the incident.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Greece and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Fragkopanagos and the airport ground technicians could face manslaughter or negligence charges if they knowingly allowed the party to leave the chopper when it was not safe to do so.