Rally champion McRae feared dead in helicopter crash

Colin McRae, the British former world rallying champion, was expected to be confirmed on Sunday as having been among those killed in a helicopter crash at his home.

The 39-year-old, whose name also adorns a successful range of rallying computer games, was believed to have been among the four people killed in the crash, police said.

There were “no survivors” in the crash at Jerviswood near the town of Lanark in southern Scotland, Strathclyde Police said.

A police source said formal identification of the bodies was expected before midday on Sunday.

McRae, a licensed pilot who owns a helicopter, is married to Alison and has two children, Hollie and Johnny.

Police did not say who they believed the others killed in the crash were.

“We can now confirm that four people were on board the helicopter that crashed in the wooded area in Lanark at 4.10pm [local time],” a Strathclyde Police spokesperson said late on Saturday.

“The bodies were found within the helicopter which is owned by Mr Colin McRae. It is believed he was on board.

“However, until formal identification has taken place we will be unable to confirm the identities of those on board.

“Police are still at the scene where further searches are continuing. Air accident investigations will be carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the crash.”

Police initially said the crash wreckage was so bad it was difficult to determine how many people were involved.

The Scottish Ambulance Service despatched a helicopter and three ambulance crews to the scene, while Strathclyde Fire Brigade also had units in attendance.

Police cordoned off the site, which is in thick woods and not easy to access.

Born in Lanark on August 5 1968, Colin Steele McRae had rallying in the blood.
His father Jimmy was a five-time British rally champion.

McRae competed in his first rally on the World Rally Championship circuit in Sweden in 1987, earning his first win in New Zealand in 1993.

Driving a Subaru Impreza 555 the Scot won the 1995 World Rally Championship in a nail-biting finish on home soil and was the runner-up in 1996, 1997 and 2001.

He was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996 in recognition of his achievements.

Fans loved his aggressive style at the wheel.

The driving ace is also known for Colin McRae Rally, a series of racing video games, played on many platforms, which have sold more than eight million copies.

The first title in the series was released in 1998 in Britain and 2000 in the United States.—AFP

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