Irish man killed in helicopter crash in Swiss Alps named

James ‘Jimmy’ Goff (34) was part of well-known auctioneering family

An Irish man (34) is among three people who died in a helicopter crash in the Alps.

James Goff from Co Wicklow, pilot Jerome Lovey and ski guide Adam George were killed when their Air-Glaciers B3 type helicopter was hit by an avalanche while on the summit of the Petit Combin mountain in southern Switzerland.

They were due to go “heli-skiing”, which involves being dropped off by a helicopter at the top of a mountain.

The helicopter was carried away off a steep slope and plunged 500 metres down the mountain before coming to a stop. Three passengers survived the fall: Edward Courage and brothers Teddy and Guy Hitchens.


James, also known as Jimmy, is the son of Robert and Sheelagh Goff – the owners of the 19th-century Ballinacor Estate in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow.

Mr Goff, whose family have lived in Dublin and Wicklow, worked for the United Nations as a project development and reporting officer. He had begun his career as an intern with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in San Francisco 10 years ago. He was also a qualified ski instructor.

Valais regional police force said in a statement: ‘Having reached the summit of a mountain culminating at 3,668 metres above sea level, for a reason that the investigation will have to determine, the aircraft slid down the northern slope.

The crash occurred around 9.25am local time. Seven rescue helicopters attended the scene, police said.

“In addition to the pilot, the helicopter was manned by a mountain guide and his four customers. Two injured people were able to receive immediate medical care before they were flown to the hospital in Sion. A third person was later rescued as well.”

Swiss safety authorities have opened an investigation to clarify the cause of the incident, while the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has started a criminal investigation.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times