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Chinook, South Wonston, Emergency landing
A HELICOPTER made a dramatic emergency landing in South Wonston at the weekend.
The RAF Chinook was forced to land in a field close to houses on Wrights Way on Sunday (September 2).
“The whole house was shaking and my wife thought the windows were going to explode” said Dave Francis, 48, of Wrights Way. Mr Francis said the Chinook appeared to pass about 30ft from the nearest house.
John Whiting, 69, of Downs Road, was one of the first people on the scene. He said: “Terry, a local farmer, came knocking at my door and told me to grab my camera and come with him. We went down in the 4x4 and we were chatting to the crew. Then the crowds started arriving and there were kids climbing aboard and having a look around.”
Shirley Llewellyn, of Wrights Way, said: “We were sitting in the conservatory and heard it coming and my husband said 'he's low'. As it passed we waved at the pilots but they didn't wave back.”
The helicopter was returning from the Bournemouth Air Festival and was on its way to RAF Odiham when it ran into difficulty at 4.20pm.
Mr Francis, whose work in aerial filming involves helicopters, said the engines appeared to shut down rapidly as part of a forced landing.
However, a spokesman for the RAF stressed that the engines did not cut out but were shut down after the aircraft had landed “in accordance with normal operating procedures.”
The spokesman added that the landing was a precautionary measure after a warning light was illuminated in the cockpit.
There were no reported injuries and the machine was guarded by military personnel overnight, with residents bringing tea and cakes to crew during the day.
The RAF's Chinook fleet is based in Hampshire and low flying is a routine activity. South Wonston is located within Low Flying Area 1, a dedicated area for military helicopter training.
Engineers finished working on the aircraft at about 5pm Monday (September 3) when the Chinook returned to its base.