RAF Odiham Chinook helps flood victims

Basingstoke Gazette: A Chinook lifts sandbags to help build a defensive wall at Seal Sands, in Middlesbrough A Chinook lifts sandbags to help build a defensive wall at Seal Sands, in Middlesbrough

A CHINOOK from RAF Odiham lifted sandbags to help shore up defences after storms in North East England.

The twin-rotored helicopter was dispatched last Friday to Seal Sands in Middlesbrough to lift the bags into a 30 metre-long breach of a defensive wall, before the arrival of high tide.

One man died and thousands were left without power after heavy rain and powerful gusts of wind battered the north and east of England last week.

The storm was accompanied by a North Sea tidal surge, said to be the worst in 60 years, which caused the River Tees and River Tyne to burst their banks.

The Chinook crew, from 18 Squadron, returned to a local military airfield last Friday evening, before mobilising again the following day to provide support to the relief efforts.

A team from RAF Odiham also travelled to Boston in Lincolnshire to support the Environment Agency in their flood defence plans.

Group Captain Richard Maddison, station commander at RAF Odiham, said: “This is a fantastic example of the adaptability and capability of the Support Helicopter force and its personnel.

“The Chinook Force has continuously supported national resilience and military aid operations since it was introduced into the RAF in 1981.”

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