Intrepid British record holder Charles Burnett among five killed in helicopter crash

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Top News Bob Dole Receives Congress Highest Civilian Honor Mark Wilson Getty Images

The lone survivor of a fiery helicopter crash in New Mexico told authorities she was "watching her family burn" in a frantic 911 call placed in the immediate aftermath of the deadly incident. They said the response was slow because of the rugged terrain and remote area, which has few roads.

Exiled Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett and four other people were killed in a helicopter crash, it was officially announced on Thursday.

As notes the edition, Bennett was the Treasurer of the opposition party "Movement for democratic change" (Movement for Democratic Change) in Zimbabwe.

Despite being white, he spoke fluent Shona and won a devoted following of black Zimbabweans who referred to him as "Pachedu, ' meaning 'one of us" for his stance as a strong advocating for political change.

The politician, who had been in exile in South Africa since 2010 after having been jailed by Parliament for pushing a fellow MP, was in the USA to spend time with friends at a ranch belonging to Texan businessman Charles Burnett III.

A BRITISH-BORN land speed record holder has died in a helicopter crash in New Mexico.

Obert Gutu, spokesperson for the MDC-T party, described Bennett's death as a "huge and tragic loss".

Pilot Jamie Coleman Dodd also managed to phone authorities before he died, telling operators there were three dead and another three survivors - him, Andra Cobb and Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett. "My condolences are extended to their family and friends".

Nicknamed the "fastest kettle in the world" the British-built steam supercar reached an average speed of 139.8m/h (225km/h) on two runs over a measured mile at the Edwards Air Force Base in California, beating a record that had stood for more than 100 years.

Burnett's friends Dodd and Cobb were experienced aviators who would not have taken unnecessary risks in the helicopter, according to the investor's personal lawyer, Martyn Hill.

Authorities eventually found the wreckage engulfed in flames, which had sparked a grass fire.

The helicopter was operated by Sapphire Aviation LLC. Burnett bought it in February 2017, said Sam Middleton, a real estate broker in Lubbock, Texas, who helped with the purchase. An enraged Bennett charged the minister, who fell to the floor.

Bennett, who was jailed twice under the Zimbabwe dictator, spent years campaigning against Mugabe.

He emerged from prison rail-thin and scarred from repeated sunburns.

After receiving death threats, Bennett fled Zimbabwe but returned in 2009 after his party nominated him for the deputy agriculture minister in a coalition government with Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

In 2013, Bennett was among the first opposition party members who called for veteran Morgan Tsvangirai to step down after he was trounced by retired President Robert Mugabe in 2013 elections. He also criticized his former party for allegedly enjoying the comforts of government while ordinary Zimbabweans suffered.

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