Officials in Greece have dismissed reports that a 22-year-old British tourist who was dismembered when he encountered the razor-sharp blade of a private helicopter tried to take a selfie when he died.
Jack Fenton was killed Monday night when the horrific accident took place at an airport near Athens, which is used for private jets and tourist aviation. He and friends and family had hired two private helicopters to return from the party island of Mykonos and were due to return to London hours after the accident by private jet.
Reports put forward by a number of British tabloids – citing speculation on a local TV network – and picked up by other outlets suggested that Fenton was trying to take one last selfie from his dream vacation on the Greek island when he died.
His sister Daisy, 20, told TBEN: “Maybe he forgot something. But the line that he went back to take a selfie is bullshit. It is a lie.”
But late Wednesday, Ioannis Kondylis, who is leading the investigation for the Greek police, told reporters and confirmed to The Daily Beast through an English-speaking spokesman that he didn’t take a selfie, but that he may have put his cell phone or something in the helicopter and went back to to pick it up.
“From the testimonials we have collected, there is no indication that the young man wanted to take a selfie,” Kondylis said. “It is reported that the 22-year-old was holding a cell phone and holding it to his ear, but it is not yet clear whether he was talking.”
Kondylis said Fenton initially followed the other passengers towards the Lolo Airfield terminal, but spontaneously returned to the Bell 407 helicopter and ducked his head under the tail of the small plane. The thin tail blade spins at about 500 revolutions per second and would have been difficult to see.
He also reiterated that from interviewing the ground crew and pilots, all written procedures were followed, suggesting changes may be in the works for the popular tourist private airline industry. “A ground worker went to the left door, one to the right, they got out and escorted them 20 meters to the building,” Kondylis told reporters, according to several outlets. “Then one stayed with them and the other ground guard returned to the helicopter. The young passenger, unknown for any reason, returned to the helicopter. We don’t know why he came back.”
Kondylis said Fenton didn’t say anything to anyone. “According to the testimonies, he was holding a cell phone to his ear, without us knowing if he was talking to anyone,” he added. “When one of the ground crew saw him walking towards the helicopter, he shouted loudly in English, ‘Stop, stop, stop,’ but he didn’t listen.”
The pilot also heard the ground crew’s warning, Kondylis said, meaning if the pilot could hear them with headphones on, they were screaming loudly.
Police are now reviewing surveillance footage from cameras located at the helipad to determine what led to the impact.