Rising star Mark Fisher was killed yesterday [Sunday] in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his sister and seriously injured father Bertie.

The accident, which happened in woodland near the Irish town of Enniskillen, has yet to be explained. Fisher Sr was as accomplished a pilot as he was a rally driver, and was flying the family back from a birthday celebration for his wife when the helicopter came down. Air accident investigators are currently trying to piece together what happened.

Mark Fisher and his sister Emma were killed in the impact, while their father, mother and brother Roy all had to be taken to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital suffering from serious injuries. Roy is currently described as stable, but his mother and father remain in a critical condition.

Mark Fisher was just beginning to make his mark on the world rally scene, having made two appearances in a works-supported Peugeot 206WRC this season. Although both runs - in Greece and the UK - were blighted by misfortune, the 27-year old created enough of an impact to suggest that it would not be long before he returned to the top flight. He was currently exploring various options for 2001.

Bertie Fisher has long been regarded as one of Ireland's finest proponents of rallying, both at home and abroad and especially on tarmac.

Crash.Net sends it sincerest condolences to friends and relatives of the family.