Debenham: RAF Merlin Helicopter makes emergency landing in field after striking pigeon

A RAF Merlin Helicopter had to make an emergency landing in a field in Debenham after hitting a bird

A RAF Merlin Helicopter had to make an emergency landing in a field in Debenham after hitting a bird. - Credit: Archant

An RAF helicopter had to make an emergency landing in a field when it struck a pigeon.

The Merlin helicopter was passing over Debenham at about noon yesterday when the drama unfolded.

Nearby homes began to shake as the huge machine quickly descended in a field opposite Thorpe Lane, near Crow’s Hall.

A crowd of about 30 people quickly formed to see what the commotion was.

Sam Thurlow, 21, of Ipswich Road, Debenham, was one of them, he said: “It sounded very big and I went outside with my camera.


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“I could see the helicopter from my house. I followed the noise and thought what was it doing there? Quite a lot of people came out to see what it was.

“It was an impressive sight. I did not think it would be as big as it was. As soon as I got up close to it I could see that it was enormous.

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“The pilots were really good and answered questions and showed kids the cockpit.”

The four-man crew spent about 45minutes in the field making sure the helicopter was not damaged.

Mr Thurlow said they had been worried the bird may have been sucked into the engines.

Before the helicopter returned to the skies the crew managed to make the most of the sunny weather and had a picnic.

The helicopter apparently had been returning to its base when the crew decided to go over some flat terrain to test its radar capabilities.

No-one from the Ministry of Defence was available to comment.

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