A year ago a sleepy Welsh village was awoken from its slumber by a rather unusual event.
It was around 9pm on the evening of Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Until then, it had been a normal night for the residents of Llangynin, near St Clears in Carmarthenshire. Then, all of a sudden, the electricity went off and everyone dashed out into the road after hearing a loud noise overhead.
The noise, as it turned out, was a Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter in trouble. The aircraft, described as an extremely capable and highly versatile support helicopter that can be operated from land or sea, had crashed into a power line and was coming down in the west Wales countryside.
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“It’s a very quiet village, nothing exciting usually happens and there’s not a lot going on,” said one elderly resident.
“We all heard it before seeing anything. It was really loud and blaring, but something sounded off, there was a sort of chuckling as the helicopter flew over the house. The power went off at around 8.30pm and we had an alert saying that they were trying to get it back on. It was only off for around an hour but everyone was on their doorsteps wondering what was going on.”
One resident who saw the helicopter come down was 11-year-old Josh Palmer.
“I was having food and watching TV when we looked outside and saw the helicopter," he said. "It looked like it was flying too low and we could hear that there was something wrong with the propellers.
“It sounded like the engine was failing and the propellers were wafting - I was a bit nervous that people were going to be hurt.”
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A number of residents rushed to the scene of where the aircraft had made its emergency landing in case any of the crew had been seriously hurt. Thankfully, those onboard only sustained minor injuries and the Chinook was able to land safely in an empty field, with crew members being fed tea and biscuits as they waited for assistance from the Royal Air Force.
The Chinook was later recovered from the scene and the Defence Safety Authority Defence Accident Investigation Branch attended to carry out a report. This then led to a safety investigation being carried out by the Army’s Joint Helicopter Command.
According to a spokesman for The Royal Air Force, “the investigation identified the cause of the incident to be confusing symbology on aeronautical charts”, which have now been changed.
Damage caused to the aircraft was repaired by the Royal Air Force and it has now returned to service, they confirmed.
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