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Mystery over Wattisham chopper diversion

PUBLISHED: 13:37 09 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:30 03 March 2010

SERVICE chiefs have thrown a shroud of mystery over an incident involving a soldier at the Wattisham airbase that caused a search and rescue chopper to divert.

SERVICE chiefs have thrown a shroud of mystery over an incident involving a soldier at the Wattisham airbase that caused a search and rescue chopper to divert.

The crew in the RAF Sea King helicopter were told that they were unable to land at the airfield near Needham Market because of an incident on the ground and instead headed for an airport in Kent.

The crew from B Flight, 22 Squadron, were returning from a hoax call to a vessel in distress on waters off Ramsgate in Kent when they made back towards their home which they share with units of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

But events on the ground meant an alternative destination was needed so they touched down at the civilian Manston Airport, a former RAF station on the Kent coast.

Wally Walters, flight safety manager at the airport, told The Evening Star that the helicopter arrived following it call-out at approximately 10.45pm on Monday.

"All we know is that they couldn't land back at base," he said.

A MOD spokeswoman could offer no further explanation, saying that the matter had been dealt with.

"It was a minor incident involving a soldier. It has been resolved and it has been dealt with internally."


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