legend rally driver COLIN McRAE Dies in Tragic Helicopter crash :(

Fans were mourning the death of one of the rally world's greatest drivers yesterday after it was confirmed that former World Rally champion Colin McRae was one of those who died in Saturday afternoon's helicopter crash. Police confirmed that the driver, his five-year-old son, Johnny, his son's friend, six-year-old Ben Porcelli, of Lanark, and a family friend Graeme Duncan, 37, who lived in France, were also killed when the helicopter went down near the McRae family home.

McRae, the first Briton to win the World Rally Championship's drivers' title in 1995, was one of the few rally drivers to be known in the wider world outside the sport of rally driving thanks to a series of highly successful Playstation computer games that were named after him.

He was both the owner and pilot of the helicopter which crashed just after 4pm about 200 yards from McRae's 17th-century mansion at Bellefield Road in Jerviswood, one mile north of Lanark in Scotland.

Police said that the Twin Squirrel helicopter burst into flames immediately after hitting the ground, creating a huge "fireball". Chief Superintendent Tim Love, of Strathclyde Police, said: "We believe the group were just returning from a visit to the nearby village of Quarter around 4.05pm, when it appears the helicopter got into difficulty and crashed within the grounds of Mr McRae's family home."

A team from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch was called in from Farnborough to investigate the cause of the helicopter's failure. Weather conditions are not thought to have been so poor as to have caused the accident.

David Lowry, owner of New Steadings Farm, only a few miles from McRae's home, saw the helicopter come down. "The helicopter came overhead and then dropped into the valley. After it disappeared I saw smoke rising from the trees and phoned the emergency services. I could not see what happened when it went down. It did not seem to be in any trouble."

news source (news source the independent.co.uk )