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Daughter of helicopter pilot Brian Bridgman, from Canterbury, who was killed in Flamborough crash, read about his death on the internet

The daughter of a pilot killed in a helicopter crash has described the heart-stopping moment she read about his death on the internet.

Freelance chief pilot Brian Bridgman, 58, of The Ropewalk, Canterbury, died when the aircraft he was flying plummeted into the sea off the coast of Yorkshire.

This week, devastated daughter Katie, 31, told KentOnline how she first found out about the tragedy on a news website from her home in Canada.

Katie Bridgman and her father Brian
Katie Bridgman and her father Brian

She said: "Our world will never be the same again. We are truly broken."

The interior designer says her "heart sank" when she read about the crash while browsing MailOnline from her Toronto home – and knew instantly it was her father.

She explains: "My brother and I were desperately trying to get hold of him.

"We knew very quickly that it was dad because we knew he was flying that route. And then my brother had a knock on the door from police.

Freelance Chief Pilot Brian Bridgman had 4,000 hours flying experience
Freelance Chief Pilot Brian Bridgman had 4,000 hours flying experience

"It was horrible, especially being 5,000 miles away in Toronto.

"My husband and I took the first flight to Stansted, where my brother lives."

Despite the efforts of rescue workers, Mr Bridgman and his passenger and close friend John Kent, 50, from Essex, were pronounced dead at the scene last Tuesday.

Paying tribute to her "hero," Katie said: "He had such a special bond with his children. We idolised him and he idolised us. We were his world.

Tim Bridgman with his father Brian, who was killed in a helicopter crash
Tim Bridgman with his father Brian, who was killed in a helicopter crash

"He was always happy, always smiling and would never say anything bad about anyone.

"He was handsome, kind, caring, sensitive, talented and loved by everyone.

"He liked poetry and history, and had a passion for shooting. He was also an amazing water-skiier. I have so many memories of an action-packed childhood.

"He was also very fit and active. He was the life of the party and so friendly. He would help anyone.

Mr Bridgman's helicopter went down off the cost of Flamborough. Picture: Ross Parry/SWNS Group
Mr Bridgman's helicopter went down off the cost of Flamborough. Picture: Ross Parry/SWNS Group

"He was a lover of life and was in a great place. He saw the best in everything."

Describing her father's caring nature, Katie said he would even ship the best throat sweets to her home in Canada if she ever felt under the weather.

Katie's brother, Tim Bridgman, 29, a racing driver and property developer, added: "We could not be more proud of our father.

"He was a fantastic dad and a brilliant pilot. He was not only a commercial pilot, but was also a qualified flying instructor and a Civil Aviation Authority-approved flight examiner.

Emergency crews at the scene of the helicopter crash. Picture: Ross Parry/SWNS Group
Emergency crews at the scene of the helicopter crash. Picture: Ross Parry/SWNS Group

"My father absolutely loved flying. He sold his engineering business four years ago so he could pursue his passion full-time.

"Dad was always great company and had a massive circle of friends. He will be hugely missed by everyone he knew, and all those whose lives he touched."

As well as his two children, Mr Bridgman leaves behind his mother, two younger sisters and nephew Toby, 27.

Parts of the helicopter's wreckage are salvaged. Picture Ross Parry/SWNS Group
Parts of the helicopter's wreckage are salvaged. Picture Ross Parry/SWNS Group

Originally from Loughton in Essex, Mr Bridgman moved to Canterbury a few years ago to be closer to Manston Airport, and also had a home in Islington, London.

He worked with Heli Charter in Manston, and was responsible for conducting flying tests for new and existing commercial pilots.

Before that, he trained as a journalist and then ran his own engineering firm for more than 20 years before giving it up in 2010 to focus on flying.


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