Wherstead: Witnesses’ shock over Apache crash blackout

A BRIGHT flash of light before being plunged into darkness.

That’s how one eyewitness has described the moment a military helicopter made an emergency landing in the field near Wherstead behind her house on Tuesday night.

The Wattisham-based Apache helicopter clipped a 132,000 volt power line and was forced to make a “controlled precautionary landing” at 10.30pm.

Samantha Barber, of Bentley Lane, Belstead, said: “My husband had just got home from work and we both thought the helicopter was flying low. Then there was this almighty flash of light, no noise or anything, and we were plunged into darkness.

“It was still flying at that point and landed without any trauma.”

Mrs Barber, who lives with husband David and children Frankie, six, and Millie, three, added: “We just can’t get our heads around the fact that the helicopter clipped the power line really.”

An investigation has been carried out into the cause of the incident and to ascertain the extent of any damage to the �46million machine.

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Soldiers from the Army Air Corps were last night guarding the aircraft while a decision is made as to whether the Apache could fly back to base or be transported by road.

Power supplies to around 373 customers were affected, while others in the nearby area experienced flickering lights, and that engineers were carrying out repair works on site.

An MoD spokesman said: “We can confirm that an Apache made a controlled precautionary landing in a field near Ipswich after a wire strike at approximately 10.20pm on Tuesday. Both crew were uninjured and were on a routine training sortie that originated from Wattisham Airfield.

The MoD has confirmed that Prince Harry, who is stationed at Wattisham as he trains to become an Apache pilot, was not involved.

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