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Householder Colin Patterson
"Medical people say I'm suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder"
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BBC Wales's Nick Palit
"It's taken six months to gut this house and make good the damage "
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Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 18:32 GMT
No charges after helicopter crash
Helicopter crash at Coryton in Cardiff
The helicopter crashed into this Cardiff house
There are to be no criminal charges following a police helicopter crash onto a house in Cardiff.

The crew of three and the family living in the house escaped unhurt after the crash in April last year.

The official report into the accident has blamed it on the failure of two maintence engineers to correctly fit a new part.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch said the incident happened eleven days after the helicopter had been modified by engineers who were not properly prepared for the task.

A fault with the tail rotor meant the machine had no directional control and the pilot had to make a force landing.

Amateur video clip
An amateur video caught the helicopter in flight
The fault occurred because paperwork explaining a particular repair procedure was in Aberdeen - while the mechanics were working in Cardiff.

The helicopter's owners acknowledged it was a miracle no-one was killed but they said new maintenance procedures will ensure the accident cannot be repeated.

The helicopter crashed into the home of the Patterson family near the busy Coryton M4 interchange on Good Friday last year.

Jointly operated by South Wales and Gwent Police the machine had been following a stolen car in the area of the M4.

The AAIB report praised the pilot Grant Lawrence for his skill in handling the force landing of the machine which had prevented any injuries.

Colin Patterson
Colin Patterson: Unable to return to work
The South and East Wales Police Air Support Unit leased the aircraft from Veritair.

Tony Jones, a director of the company, said: "The paperwork was completed, but they didn't have it to hand at the time so weren't able to follow the full instructions."

"Engineers not having the right paperwork is not acceptable."

"But we have taken steps with our new maintenance organisation under new Veritair to make sure it is not going to happen again," he said.

Mr Francis said no criminal proceedings had been launched against Veritair or the maintenance company at the time of the crash, Scotia Helicopter Services.

The crash destroyed the top floor of the maisonette home of Colin and Diane Patterson who were watching television with two of their sons.

"We are very lucky. I cannot believe none of us was injured. It's a miracle," said Mrs Patterson,

Their home took more than six months to repair.

Mr Patterson, who is 59, has been unable to return to work as an insurance broker and is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.

He said the matter of a legal claim was "in the hands of our solicitors".

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