The Monacair helicopter that crashed above Monaco on November 25 last year, killing the pilot and his passenger, was in excellent condition when it left Lausanne on its ill-fated flight, having been very recently totally stripped down and reassembled, according to the official inquiry.

The passenger, 53 year-old Vyacheslav Taran, was a very well-liked family man and a Monaco resident of Russian nationality. He was a successful businessman in the cyber-currency sector. His widow, Olga Taran, the publisher of Hello Monaco magazine, denied a raft of vicious rumours that swirled following the tragedy.

The helicopter crashed between Eze and Villefranche on an afternoon when the weather was generally good, but with unpredictable coastal mists. The inquiry concluded that the crash was caused by two factors, the localised sea mists and the fact that the pilot (35) was a long-term user of cocaine, as confirmed by postmortem analysis of his hair. It may have been the case that the pilot had taken cocaine before the flight and was confused and unable to accurately calculate distances. He was also not trained for instrument flying.

The pilot was well-respected by his employers, knew the area well, and had amassed 2,300 hours of flying time.

The report by the Office of Investigation and Analysis of Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) has yet to be made public officially, which it is expected to be this week. The conclusions in the report were made public on Tuesday afternoon by Monaco Matin following a meeting of Monacair executives and BEA in its offices at Nice Airport.

FILE PHOTO: A Monacair helicopter