Rescue helicopter in search for woman

AN RAF search team was scrambled last night after a woman was reported missing near Bury St Edmunds.

Laurence Cawley

AN RAF search team was scrambled last night after a woman was reported missing near Bury St Edmunds.

The rescue team from Wattsiham Airfield was hailed after concerns began to grow for the welfare of 45-yearold Sandra Francis.

Mrs Francis, from West Stow, near Bury, went missing at the weekend.

A police spokeswoman said: “Sandra was last seen by her brother at her home in Icklingham Road at around 2pm yesterday.

“Mrs Francis is extremely vulnerable, and police officers including a dog unit and the search and rescue helicopter have been carrying out extensive inquiries around West Stow, Lackford, Hengrave, Flempton, Culford, Fornham All Saints, Great Barton and Risby to try to locate her.

Most Read

“Sandra is described as white, 5ft 7in tall, of medium build with short brown hair and brown eyes.”

Flight Lieutenant Matt Thompson, who captained last night's RAF search and rescue mission, said: “We assisted with an aerial search for a missing person, just north of Bury St Edmunds for two hours last night.

“When the 'Scramble phone' rings the team has just 15 minutes to get airborne. From that call we take the details of whether the emergency is 'wet' (over water) or 'dry', is a search or a rescue, the location and any casualties involved.

“The route planning and briefing is done as the crew get into their survival equipment - from thermal underwear to immersion coveralls.”

Mrs Francis is yet to be found and anybody with information should call the duty sergeant on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.