Honorary Chelsea VP missing after helicopter crash

Phillip Carter, who is missing following a helicopter crash, is an honorary vice-president of Chelsea and was on his way back from the club's Champions League semi-final against Liverpool.

Phillip Carter, who is missing following a helicopter crash, is an honorary vice-president of Chelsea and was on his way back from the club's Champions League semi-final against Liverpool.

Carter is listed as one of eight vice-presidents but the position does not make him an official of the club and does not entitle him to a seat on the Blues board of directors.

Wreckage of the helicopter believed to have been carrying wealthy businessman Carter, the chief executive of a training company, has been found in woodland near Wansford, Cambridgeshire.

Mr Carter lives in the village of Thornhaugh, north west of Peterborough.

According to Civil Aviation Authority records, he is the joint owner of a twin-engined helicopter registered to his home address.

Last month, he told Bloomberg that his company planned to make several acquisitions after new financial figures revealed further profit growth.

Carter & Carter, which specialises in vocational training, employs more than 500 people and is based in Nottingham.

Shares in Carter and Carter were suspended at 9.30am.

City watchdog the Financial Services Authority said the suspension was at the request of the company and would remain in place pending an announcement.

The helicopter left John Lennon Airport in Liverpool last night and was heading to a private landing site near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, when it vanished.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokeswoman said: "The helicopter, we believe, had about four or five people on board and was a twin-engine Squirrel.

"It left John Lennon Airport in Liverpool at about 11pm last night and was on its way to a private address near Peterborough.

"It appears to have disappeared off the radar."

She said the helicopter is thought to have disappeared from radar screens shortly after 12.30am.

Robin Tudor, head of communications at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, confirmed that the helicopter left at 11.30pm with four people on board.

"Certainly we were handling a lot of traffic well into the early hours and it was predominantly related to the match," he said.

The incident stirs memories of the October 1996 crash which killed Chelsea's vice-chairman Matthew Harding and four other men as they returned from a Bolton Wanderers match.

The Twin Squirrel helicopter plummeted to earth in farmland near Middlewich, Cheshire, and burst into flames following a Coca-Cola Cup tie.

Multimillionaire Mr Harding, 42, from Wimbledon, south London, pilot Michael Goss, 38, from Wilton, Wilts, businessmen Raymond Deane, 43, from Camberley, Surrey, and Tony Burridge, 39, from Wimbledon, and magazine journalist John Bauldie, 47, from Richmond, south London, were all killed instantly in the crash.

An inquest jury returned verdicts of accidental death after hearing that the pilot might have become disorientated flying at night with no autopilot, while trying to map-read and talk to air traffic control.

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