Rookie pilots have left RAF Chinook helicopter trapped in muddy field for days
A 100-foot long Chinook helicopter has been stuck in a muddy field for days after rookie pilots made an emergency landing in a farmer’s waterlogged pasture.
The Chinook is the RAF’s heavy-lifting workhorse, which can haul anything from 55 fully-armed troops to the fearsome MGM-32 "Lance" missile system in and out of combat zones
The chopper’s crew, based out of RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, were on a training mission on Tuesday when they identified a hydraulics failure that threatened to take the craft down.
Fearing that the helo might not stay aloft long enough to get back to base they desperately tried to find a safe landing spot.
An RAF source told the Sun: “[the Chinook] suffered a mechanical issue related to the hydraulics. If you get a warning light you have to land as soon as is practical.
"The crew identified a large, flat field as a safe place to land and everyone made if off safely.
"Unfortunately, while they were waiting for the engineers to fix the fault the aircraft started to sink into the soft ground.”
The 22,680 kg (23 tonne) helicopter settled into the muck of a farmer’s field near the village of Kingston Lisle in the Vale of White Horse.
The effort to dog the help out has to be done very carefully for fear of damaging the delicate electronics antennae along the Chinook’s belly
A spokesman for RAF Benson said they were "extremely thankful to the landowners for their understanding and support during this work".
"Particularly the kindness they’ve shown to our team guarding the aircraft during some very cold nights," RAF Benson said on its Facebook page.
"Unfortunately, the aircraft soon sank into the field, likely due to the extended period of wet weather that we’ve been experiencing recently," the RAF added.
"Our engineers deployed to the site to assess the mechanical issue and this has now been fixed.
"However, the extremely soft ground has made the recovery of the Chinook to RAF Benson very difficult.
"A tri-Service team of specialists is working hard to safely extract the aircraft from the mud.
Currently the plan is to get a crane into the field and lift the Chinook onto a platform where it can be checked before it returns to its base.
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