Swansea light aircraft crash lands after bird strike

A light aircraft pilot has been forced to crash land near Swansea after hitting a flock of birds.

The pilot, who was alone in the plane, suffered slight concussion when the aircraft flipped over during the emergency landing at Grovesend.

South Wales Police said the man was a local farmer and took off and landed at his own airstrip, and had been taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

The alarm was raised on Sunday shortly after 0700 GMT.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch is being informed of the incident.

Insp Andy Walbeoff of South Wales Police said the pilot had collided with a flock of birds after taking off.

“He had to make an emergency landing on his own private airstrip at Grovesend,” he said.

“On landing the aircraft flipped upside down. The pilot managed to exit the aircraft with only minor injuries and he went to hospital suffering from slight concussion.”

Insp Walbreoff said the pilot had intended on taking a leisure flight around the Gower.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service sent two fire engines from Gorseinon and Pontarddulais to the scene.

Sourced by BBC News

Norfolk helicopter crash: Four feared dead

Police officer at a roadblock near the helicopter crash sceneFour people are feared dead in a helicopter crash in a remote part of Norfolk.

The civilian aircraft with four people on board crashed in Gillingham, near Beccles, at about 19:30 GMT, police said.

Emergency services remain on scene and a cordon around the site is in place.

It is not known what caused the crash but witnesses reported fog in the area at the time and said the helicopter crashed very soon after taking off.

Police said they would not release further details of the victims until their next-of-kin had been informed.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said it was called at 19:45 to reports of a helicopter crash.

‘Big bang’

In a statement it said: “Sadly, it is believed that four people in the helicopter are believed to have died in the crash.

“Ambulance resources have now been stood down from the scene. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives tonight.”

Emergency service vehicles at the scene of the helicopter crash Emergency service vehicles remain at the scene hours after the crash

A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said it would be sending a team to investigate the crash site.

Gillingham is a small village in the south of Norfolk with a population of about 650.

James Avery, 34, from Great Yarmouth, said he was sitting on a bench drinking tea with a friend when he heard the helicopter take off.

He said: “I was outside McDonald’s in Beccles and heard the helicopter take off from across the road.

“It was flying low and no more than 30 seconds later I heard a big bang followed by the sound of the turbine engine quickly stopping.

“It was like a whistling sound.

“Me and a friend ran across the road to the field where we thought it may have crashed but with the heavy fog, we were unable to see much of anything.

“There were some guys on scooters who were already in the field. So we just went back to McDonald’s and got the attendant to ring the emergency services.”

‘Very foggy’

Taxi driver Mark Murray, 22, from Beccles, said: “There is a large stately home nearby and you often see helicopters coming and going from there.

“When they have a game shoot the guests often all arrive in separate helicopters. We don’t know if that is linked, but that’s the only helicopter activity we see in this area.”

Roland Bronk, owner of The Swan House inn and restaurant in Beccles, said it had been “very foggy” in the area.

The site of the crash is about 45 miles from where four crew members died when a US military helicopter crashed in Norfolk on a training mission in a nature reserve in Cley next the Sea, Norfolk, in January.

Sourced by BBC News

Clutha crash: Police helicopter suffered double engine failure

breaking newsA police helicopter which crashed on a busy pub in Glasgow last November suffered a double engine failure, investigators have found.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the failures were apparently as a result of a fuel supply problem.

But it said the cause of the problem was still not clear.

The Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter came down on the Clutha Bar in the city centre on Friday 29 November.

All three people on board and six in the pub were killed. A tenth victim died in hospital two weeks later.

The AAIB said it was trying to establish why both engines “flamed out” when there was 76kg of fuel remaining.

It was also investigating why there was no Mayday call and why the aircraft was not able to make a controlled landing.

An eyewitness said the Police Scotland aircraft, which was operated by Bond Aviation, fell from the sky “like a stone”.

The pilot Dave Traill, had 26 years experience and had flown helicopters for the RAF in both Gulf Wars.

An initial report on the crash which was released on 9 December said there was “no evidence” of major engine or gearbox failure.

Shortly after that report Bond grounded the same model of helicopter because of a fuel gauge problem.

The helicopter had taken off at 20:45 with 400kg of fuel on board and was returning the base when it came down at 22:22.

The helicopter did not have a so-called black box data recorder.

Sourced by BBC News

Air-sea search after Pembrokeshire ‘plane crash’ reports

An air and sea search has been launched off Pembrokeshire’s north coast amid reports that a light aircraft may have crashed into the sea.

Milford Haven coastguards say residents in Trefin had reported a low flying aircraft overhead at around 19:10 GMT.

There were fears fast jets may have been involved but this has been discounted by the Ministry of Defence.

Coastguards have called out the rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor as well as two all-weather RNLI lifeboats.

Coastguard rescue teams as well as police, the fire service and ambulances have been called to the area, which is midway between Fishguard and St Davids.

The RNLI has launched its all-weather lifeboats at Fishguard and St Davids.

“Heard it circling’

Sue Whitmore, who runs the Old School Hostel in Trefin, said she had heard what sounded like a light aircraft circling overhead.

She said: “I didn’t hear the bang. I heard it circling,” which she described as “very unusual especially at night”.

“A few minutes ago I heard a helicopter going over towards the sea and a lot of emergency vehicles have gone passed.”

She said other villagers had told her they had also heard an aircraft followed by a bang.

At the Ship Inn pub people report the emergency services have been searching an area between Trefin and St Nicholas.

“There are lot of emergency services,” said one bar worker.

Sourced from BBC Wales

Update: The search was later stood down as it is believed to have been a false alarm.

Asiana crash pilot ‘stressed’ due to faulty landing system

By Phil Davies

The pilot of an Asiana aircraft which crashed in San Francisco has said he was “stressed” about landing without the aid of a key guidance system.

The Boeing 777 aircraft flying from Seoul to San Francisco crashed on July 6 after it came in too low and hit a sea wall killing three passengers.

The information came as the US National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing on the crash.

Captain Lee Kang-kuk had only begun training to fly the 777 in February, logging just 35 hours. He had previously flown Airbus A320s for Asiana from 2005 until February, the BBC reported.

The crash took place on a clear day. But the instrument landing system – which informs pilots whether they are flying too high or low – at the San Francisco airport was not functioning at the time because of construction work.

According to documents made public by the NTSB, Captain Lee said he had been “very concerned” about his ability to land the 777 using a visual approach.

The first officer Bong Dong-won told investigators he realised the aircraft was rapidly descending. He said he initially did nothing, but then spoke up at least four times about the rapid descent.

Documents released also say that one of the passengers who died, Ye Mengyuan, 16, was hit twice by emergency vehicles on the airport tarmac, first by a fire rig spraying foam and then by a fire truck.

The Safety Board is still investigating the case, with NTSB chief Deborah Herman saying that they would “take as long as we need to complete the investigation”.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Namibia search for Mozambique plane with 34 on board

Luanda airport, Angola (file image)A search is under way for a Mozambique Airlines (LAM) plane which is feared to have crashed in Namibia with 28 passengers and six crew on board.

Rescuers have been sent to the Bwabwata National Park in the north-east of the country – between Angola and Botswana.

Flight TM470 left Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, at 11:26 (09:26 GMT) on Friday and was due to arrive in the Angolan capital, Luanda, at 14:10.

The last contact made with the plane was when it was over northern Namibia.

The nationalities of those on board have not been confirmed.

Initially, the airline said there were signs it might have landed near Rundu.

“LAM airlines, aeronautical and airport authorities are trying to establish contact to confirm the information,” said the airline.

On Saturday, a police official involved with the search said villagers in the area had heard an explosion.

“Botswana officials informed us that they saw smoke in the air and they thought the crash happened in their country, but when they came to the border they realised that it was in Namibia,” Willie Bampton said.

He said the plane had not landed in the Rundu region.

The Bwabwata National Park in Namibia’s Kavango East region – covering around 6,100sq km (2,355 square miles) – is a sparsely-populated area of dense forests.

“The area is vast, and there are no roads and the park is bushy. So, it is very difficult to locate the scene,” Mr Bampton said.

Sourced by BBC News

One dead in pub helicopter crash

One person has been confirmed dead after a police helicopter crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow.

Police Scotland said they expected the final number of fatalities would be higher and a rescue operation is continuing at the scene.

The crash happened at The Clutha in Stockwell Street at 22:25 on Friday.

There were three people on board the helicopter – two officers and a civilian pilot. Thirty-two people have been taken to local hospitals.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond told a press conference it was a “black day for Scotland.”

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House confirmed that one person had died and further fatalities were expected after the helicopter crashed on to the roof of the pub.

He said there was “deep sorrow” in Police Scotland and thoughts were with all those involved.

He said they “can’t say definitively” whether there are people still trapped within the pub, and added “we are still in a search and recovery phase”.

He went on: “It’s been emotional but it’s the job of everyone here to deal with it and we will continue to deal with it.”

Mr Salmond said: “This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland but it is also St Andrew’s Day and we can take pride in how we respond to adversity.

“The response from our emergency services and citizens has been exemplary.”

Earlier senior fire officer said they had made contact with some people trapped inside the pub but the building was unsafe and they were taking a “methodical” approach to the rescue.

The emergency services could be seen on the pub’s roof trying to rescue people from inside.

Jim Murphy MP tells the BBC that “something horrific and serious happened”

It has been reported that about 120 people were in the pub at the time of the crash. Many were rescued or escaped but others have been trapped by a collapse on the left-hand side of the building.

Emergency services have erected barriers around the scene and specialist rescue teams are in the pub with sniffer dogs.

  • The Police Scotland Casualty Bureau number is 0800 092 0410
  • Callers should only contact the Casualty Bureau number if they have concerns for relatives who may have been in the Clutha Vaults pub or surrounding area at the time of the incident
  • The injured have been taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Western Infirmary and the Victoria Infirmary
  • The fire service said there were people trapped in the building but they could not say how many

Some of the injured were taken to a nearby Holiday Inn Express, while more serious casualties were being treated in hospital.

As he left the accident and emergency department of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, a staff member who did not want to be interviewed was asked how serious the injuries were. He replied: “Very”.

Glasgow’s Health Board said it had put in place its “well-rehearsed major emergency arrangements” and that local hospitals had been on “immediate standby”.

A large area of the city centre has been cordoned off.

Images of the crash showed the wreckage of a dark blue helicopter with a yellow “Police” insignia lying on the pub’s roof.

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: “At 22:25 on Friday evening, the Police Scotland helicopter – a Eurocopter EC135 T2 – came down on the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street, Glasgow.

“There were three people on board – two police officers and a civilian pilot. There were a number of customers inside the bar at the time.”

She said the rescue operation was ongoing and it was too early to provide any details around why the helicopter came down.

Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said it was working with the police and emergency services.

Jim Murphy, the Labour MP for East Renfrewshire, was in the area at the time of the crash and said he ran into the pub to help before emergency services arrived.

He told the BBC there was “pandemonium” as people tried to get out of the pub.

Emergency services outside Emergency services said there have been “numerous” casualties

“It was almost like slow motion,” he said, adding: “People just formed a bit of human chain, side by side with each other, to help pull injured people out.”

The shadow cabinet minister, who had blood on his shirt which he said was not his, described what he saw as a “horrific scene”.

The band who were playing in the pub at the time of the crash, Esperanza, have released a statement on their Facebook page.

Bassist Jess wrote: “Waking up and realising that it is all definitely horribly real. Despite the situation everyone was so helpful and caring of each other.

“The police, ambulances, firefighters all did a stellar job and continue to do so today in extremely difficult conditions.”

Eyewitness Fraser Gibson, 34, was inside the pub with his brother to see his former band, Esperanza.

“Midway through their set it sounded like a giant explosion,” he told BBC Scotland.

“Part of the room was covered in dust. We didn’t know what had happened. We froze for a second; there was panic and then people trying to get out the door.”

Mr Gibson added: “I would say there was maybe 120 people inside the pub. A lot of people managed to get out straight away, but it was hard to tell how many were actually trapped in the other half of the bar.

He said there had been no indication a helicopter had caused the devastation, adding: “The roof had just totally collapsed.

“There were shards of wood sticking out the top but nothing that said there had been a helicopter crash.”

Eddie Waltham, a former firefighter who had a friend inside the pub, told the BBC: “A roof joist came down and hit him and pushed him towards the window which is at the left side of the left door.”

He added later: “My own reaction was to run straight up to the pub.

“It was amazing to watch just how people were trying so hard to get into this building.”

John McGarrigle who said he feared his father had been in the pub at the time said: “I’ve checked every hospital and there’s no sign of him. I’m very anxious.

“I’m just going to stand here till I see casualties come out of the building.”

Map of the area

Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, said his heart went out to the families affected.

He also praised the response of ordinary people in the area before the emergency services arrived.

He said: “People who were in the pub, the people who were in the streets and who just helped out their fellow human beings who were out having a good time.

“It’s Glasgow at its best you know, if people are in need the spontaneous response is to go to their help. And I want to pay great tribute to that and I’m very proud as leader of the city that that was the reaction. It doesn’t surprise me.”

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “My thoughts are with everyone affected by the helicopter crash in Glasgow – and the emergency services working tonight.”

In 2002, a police Eurocopter EC-135 came down in a field in Ayrshire. All three people on board survived.

In 1990, a police sergeant was killed when a Bell Jet 206 helicopter crashed in bad weather at Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire.


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