LONDON: No sign of sabotage in helicopter crash that killed oil executive, British inquest hears

There is no indication that sabotage caused the helicopter crash that killed the managing director of a major shareholder in Russian oil firm Yukos and his pilot last year, a British investigator said Tuesday.

Stephen Curtis, 45, managing director of the Menatep Group, died on March 3, 2004 when his helicopter crashed in southern England during a flight from London. Pilot Matthew Radford, 34, also died. Paul Hannant, a senior investigator at the Air Accident Investigation Branch, which probes civil aircraft accidents, gave testimony at an inquest into Curtis' death.

The AAIB had previously concluded that Radford had "probably become disorientated" in worsening weather conditions. But Curtis' uncle, Eric Jenkins, told the inquest earlier that his nephew had received threatening phone calls and was under some kind of surveillance during the last two years of his life.

Jenkins said his nephew had warned two weeks before his death that "'if anything happens in the next two weeks,' it would not be an accident." Coroners' inquests are routine in Britain when a death is due to other than natural causes, AP reports.


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