Did Chinook cause cow death?

THERE have been more sightings of a Chinook helicopter low-flying over Suffolk - and bizarre reports today that it caused the death of a cow.The powerful helicopter has been seen again this week crossing east Suffolk, flying as low as 200ft above the ground.

THERE have been more sightings of a Chinook helicopter low-flying over Suffolk - and bizarre reports today that it caused the death of a cow.

The powerful helicopter has been seen again this week crossing east Suffolk, flying as low as 200ft above the ground.

But the Ministry of Defence has not let the public know the aircraft is carrying out low-flying manoeuvres and its weekly announcements of exercises reveal no details of its activities.

The Evening Star received an anonymous call from an RAF source claiming the chopper frightened a cow to death when landing on Falkenham Marshes, between Felixstowe and the River Deben.

It was said the noise made by the Chinook gave the animal such a fright it suffered a heart attack.

But the RAF says it knows nothing about any such incident.

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The force has also denied the helicopter is ferrying SAS officers to and from Sizewell B nuclear power station as part of work to protect the plant from terrorist attack, and says the crew of the aircraft is simply practising landing on different types of terrain.

Quick thinking Phil Holmes, photographed the Chinook as it flew over his home in Grundisburgh Road, Great Bealings, on Tuesday.

He said he could not believe how low it was in the sky.

Mr Holmes said: “I would say it was 80ft to 100ft off the ground and absolutely definitely no more than 200ft.

“I looked out of the study window and it was level with my house and very noisy indeed.

“I didn't notice any markings on it - it was just a greeny, khaki colour.”

It came from the Grundisburgh direction and flew off towards Tuddenham.

Police have admitted the Chinook lands routinely at police HQ at Martlesham, and it has also been seen landing in the grounds of Sizewell B.

A spokeswoman at RAF Odiham in north Hampshire, where the helicopter is based, said: “We have not heard anything about the helicopter being involved in the death of a cow.

“Facilities such as Sizewell allow us to land in their grounds and the flights in this area are part of routine training for the crews.”

The MoD says there are no low flying exercises taking place in Suffolk - which is for 2,742 hours of low flying a year by the military, mainly over rural areas - at the moment.

Military fixed wing aircraft are judged to be low flying when they are less than 2,000 feet from the ground, and light propeller driven aircraft and helicopters are judged to be low flying below 500ft.

Have you seen the Chinook on its travels? Do you know if it killed a cow? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Did you know?

The Chinook is the favoured aircraft of the SAS and SBS troops in war zones - with 7 Squadron based at RAF Odiham acting as their support unit.

FASTFACTS: Chinooks

The RAF operates the second largest fleet of twin-rotor Chinooks in the world - 48 helicopters in total.

In the Gulf War of 1991, Chinooks from 7 Sqn at RAF Odiham placed SAS foot patrols into Iraq and delivered SBS sabotage teams close to Baghdad.

Pilots of Chinooks - which have a crew of four, pilot, navigator and two load masters - are trained to fly a tree-top level, often at night, so they can sneak under enemy radar.

The helicopters can fly at 196mph and are armed with a variety of machine guns at the rear and side and special jamming equipment to avoid and fool attacking missiles.

Their main role is deploying personnel and equipment and they can carry up to 55 troops or ten tonnes of freight. The cabin is large enough to accommodate two Land Rovers, while more cargo can be carried from hooks underneath the aircraft.

They are also used for search and rescue and casualty evacuation and can carry 24 stretchers.

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