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Wattisham helicopters damaged in Iraq

PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:43 03 March 2010

TWO Suffolk-based helicopters have been damaged after hitting overhead wires in the Basra area over the last few days.

No one was hurt in either incident, but the aircrews were said to be "badly shaken.

TWO Suffolk-based helicopters have been damaged after hitting overhead wires in the Basra area over the last few days.

No one was hurt in either incident, but the aircrews were said to be "badly shaken."

A Lynx helicopter gunship touched overhead wires on Tuesday, causing damage to the rear rotor blade.

And today a Gazelle reconnaissance helicopter operating in the area was damaged when it, too, clipped overhead cables.

Following the two incidents, which did not involve any enemy action, the commanding officer of 3 Regt Army Air Corps, Col George Butler, has given fresh instructions to his pilots urging them not to take risks.

Low-flying operations are vital in warfare, but this week's incidents have shown up the danger that can be associated with them.

The 16th Air Assault Brigade is active in Basra trying to restore law and order – as fears mount of two forms of trouble.

Looting has been a major problem in the city and there are also fears of clashes between opponents of the old regime and Ba'ath Party loyalists.

There are fears that some opponents of Saddam Hussein, who were brutally repressed after an uprising 12 years ago, could try to settle old scores.

Helicopters from the Army Air Corps – part of the Air Assault Brigade – are patrolling the skies to give extra support to troops on the ground who are increasingly adopting a peace-keeping role.


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