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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
McRae crash helicopter examined
Colin and Johnny McRae
Johnny and Colin McRae died in the crash
Air accident investigators have been preparing to remove the wreckage of the crashed helicopter which claimed the life of rally champion Colin McRae.

The 39-year-old's son Johnny, five, and two close family friends also died in the accident, which happened near the McRae's home in Lanark.

Experts from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch will take the helicopter to Hampshire for analysis.

The bodies were removed from the site on Sunday evening.

Police said the aircraft came down on Saturday at about 1600 BST in Jerviswood, roughly a mile from Lanark, and caught fire.

Family members

Officers said Mr McRae, his son Johnny, his son's friend Ben Porcelli and family friend Graeme Duncan died.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Mr McRae's childhood friend Robbie Head said he would be greatly missed.

He offered his sympathy to the late rally ace's wife Alison, daughter Hollie and other family members.

Mr Head said: "He was always up for action whether it was driving, flying or jet skiing or whatever.

"He was also very much a family man. It is very sad for Alison and Hollie, his mum and dad and his brothers and for everyone who knows Colin.

"Everybody loves him around the world."

Two crash victims
Ben Porcelli and Graeme Duncan also died in the crash

The team of air accident investigators spent the day at the scene on Sunday examining the wreckage.

Strathclyde Police initially said the damage was so bad that they did not know how many people were on board.

At one point about 40 firefighters dealt with the flames from the blast.

Mr McRae, Johnny, six-year-old Ben and Mr Duncan, 37, had been flying from Hamilton to Lanark when the accident happened.

The racing driver's father Jimmy McRae, who was also a rally champion, has paid tribute to his son, grandson and the others who died.

A school friend pays tribute to Colin McRae

Family tribute to McRae and son
16 Sep 07 |  Glasgow and West
Motorsport pays tribute to McRae
16 Sep 07 |  Motorsport
McRae's career in photos
16 Sep 07 |  Rallying
Rally driver feared dead in crash
15 Sep 07 |  Glasgow and West
Magical McRae
16 Sep 07 |  Motorsport

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