| 6.3°C Dublin

€10k for girl left in shock by helicopter's car park crash

A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl who suffered nervous shock when a helicopter crashed and exploded in a car park has been awarded €10,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Mark Dunne, counsel for Emma Reddan, of Riverstown, Rathfeigh, Co Meath, said she had been a passenger in her mother Marina's car when the helicopter came down in the car park of the Neptune Hotel, Bettystown, in September 2008.

Mr Dunne said the Sikorsky S76, piloted by Bill Curry, of The Crescent, Riverside Manor, Kilcullen, Co Kildare, had dropped off two passengers on Bettystown beach and was then attempting to land in the hotel car park when a rotor blade struck a lamp post.

Mrs Reddan's car, with little Emma inside, had been passing nearby at the time and it later transpired she suffered nervous shock as a result of the explosion.

Mr Dunne said bits of the helicopter had disintegrated during the landing.

As a result of her experience Emma had, according to a psychiatrist's report, suffered from separation anxiety disorder.

The helicopter crashed in the centre of Bettystown on September 18, 2008.

In a District Court prosecution of Curry by the Irish Aviation Authority in January 2010 he was fined €5,000 and ordered to pay €5,000 legal costs to the Authority. A three- month prison sentence was suspended.

The District Court hearing was told by Curry's solicitor that the 37-year-old pilot had moved to Portugal where he was running a helicopter training business.

The District Court heard that Curry accepted it was an error of judgment by him to have attempted to squeeze in to the car park which was too small for the helicopter's rotating blades, bits of which had been scattered up to 70 metres.

Emma yesterday, through her mother Marina, sued Curry and GP Helicopter Services Limited, of Woodstown Dale, Knocklyon, Dublin, and Barrack Construction Limited, of Thomastown, Caragh, Naas, Co Kildare.

Judge Matthew Deery approved the €10,000 settlement from insurers on the part of the defendants.