Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s royal helicopter narrowly avoided fatal crash with glider

Pilots on the helicopter which was flying at 173mph were forced to take emergency evasive action after coming within just 500ft of the glider, according to The Mirror. The revelation comes just a week after Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall also had a near miss, according to The Mail on Sunday. Camilla’s helicopter had two near misses with an aircraft carrying parachutists and with a glider just 45 minutes later.

The AugustaWestland AW109 helicopter – nicknamed Heir Force one – was 4,400ft above the ground when the co-pilot saw a glider flying directly overhead in the same direction.

The potential collision was revealed in an official report by the UK Airprox Board.

The report claimed that both pilots of the aircraft shared responsibility for the near-miss.

The report said: “The AW109 pilot took avoiding action by turning left to ensure separation.

“He noted that had they maintained course the risk of collision was high.”

However, the report also added that it was unlikely the glider pilot saw the helicopter until it passed.

The Countess of Wessex is Prince Edward’s wife and was attending an official engagement when the event took place.

The terrifying close shave occurred three miles east of Cheltenham.

It occurred at around 3.30pm on July 5, 2017, after the Countess of Wessex watched a farming demonstration in Overbury.

Sophie joined the Royal Family in 1999, following her marriage to Prince Edward – the Queen’s youngest son.

On the official Royal Family website, Sophie is described as: “A full-time working member of the Royal Family, The Countess of Wessex splits her time between her work in support of The Queen and visits to a large number of her own charities and organisations.

“She has a wide range of interests which include supporting people with disabilities, the prevention of blindness in developing countries, agriculture and fashion.”

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