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A PILOT who gave a lift to a friend's daughter in his helicopter was cleared yesterday of causing her death in a crash.

Siobhan Casey, from Sligo, died when the helicopter plunged into the sea at Dingle Bay, Co Kerry, shortly after take-off.

Businessman Xavier McAuliffe, 50, was fined pounds 8,000 at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after admitting flying without a proper flight permit or certificate of airworthiness and banned from holding a pilot's licence for seven years. Judge Michael Moriarty said there was no evidence he had flown irresponsibly.

The helicopter had had a problem in the fuel tank. But it was accepted McAuliffe believed he had dealt with this. Less than the regulation 50 hours flying time had elapsed since the last inspection and the airworthiness certificate had expired eight days before the crash.

McAuliffe, of Ballygrennan, Co Kerry, was supported in court by the dead woman's father. Patrick MacEntee, defending, said: "He accepts it was an accident."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Roberts, Joe
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 3, 1996
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