Intrepid British record holder Charles Burnett among five killed in helicopter crash


A British-born former land-speed record-holder has died in a helicopter crash in the U.S. state of New Mexico.

Hill and Cobb's wife, Martha, said the co-pilot had survived being shot down while flying a helicopter in the Vietnam War.

New Mexico State Police said: "Raton, New Mexico Police Department received a 911 call from a victim in the crash who reported the incident".

Bennett, 60, had left Zimbabwe under Mugabe's rule for exile in South Africa, but continued to be a fierce opponent of the president.

He and his wife had traveled to New Mexico to spend their holiday with their friend Burnett, according to loved ones.

Authorities eventually found the wreckage engulfed in flames, which had sparked a grass fire. One of them was so injured that he rolled about 150 feet to get away from the flames, Sinclair said. Law enforcement responded and began searching for the downed helicopter.

Andra Cobb, the sole survivor of a horrific helicopter crash in a remote part of New Mexico, was frantic and screaming as she described the scene to a 911 operator.

Bennett, who was suffering from head wounds, also died as police searched for crash site.

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David Coltart, a former Zimbabwean education minister, said he was devastated and at a loss for words.

He continued by consoling the Bennett family, "I am very sorry don't know who to offer my condolences to, perhaps to the whole of Zimbabwe".

In Zimbabwe, Tendai Biti, a prominent opposition leader and a former finance minister, tweeted that the Bennetts' "tragic passing" was "a blow to our struggle".

Elder Mutasa told ZimEye, "he (Bennett) speaks Chindawu through and through, he speaks Chindawu when he speaks in Shona and he is such a lovely young man, because I dealt with him; so yeah, he should be buried back home ku Chimanimani".

"His work with the local farming communities in Chimanimani district is very well documented and he was also a renowned philanthropist who assisted hundreds of local villagers with school fees for their children and other necessary requirements to look after their families", Gutu said.

Bennett, treasurer-general of the MDC-T party, won a devoted following of black Zimbabweans for passionately advocating political change.

"This monumental tragedy is a deep wound that will never heal", Gutu said.