Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 10:53 UK

Helicopter crash is remembered

Isles of Scilly
The helicopter was flying from Penzance in Cornwall to St Mary's

Survivors of one of the worst helicopter crashes in the South West have been marking the 25th anniversary of the accident.

Twenty people were killed when the helicopter, en route from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly, crashed in thick fog off St Mary's.

Only six people survived the crash in 1983 - two crew members and four passengers, including two children.

An official report into the cause of the crash cited pilot error.

But the pilot and co-pilot, who escaped, were praised for their bravery for helping the survivors.

Survivor Lucille Langley-Williams saw an air steward walk past her just before the helicopter crashed.

"He didn't have time to strap himself in before we hit the water," she told BBC News.

'Keep breathing'

Ms Langley-Williams, who lived in the Scillies but now lives in Dorset, was working in the health sector in Cornwall and was travelling from the mainland to St Mary's for a meeting.

She said her escape was not easy when the helicopter plunged into the sea.

"The door was very difficult to open but fortunately it must have jogged on impact because when I pushed it hard enough it fell away in front of me," she said.

The survivors were rescued by the St Mary's lifeboat. None were seriously injured.

Ms Langley-Williams said despite the traumatic experience, it did not put her off flying and she boarded another helicopter the following week.

"I was nervous obviously, but Bill my husband came with me and held my hand.

"After all it was a lifeline that helicopter."

At the time, it was said to be Britain's worst civilian helicopter crash.


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