RAF apologises for night disturbance
Published at 16:47, Friday, 28 September 2012
THE source of a series of loud noises heard over Barrow, Dalton, Ulverston and Millom on Wednesday night has been confirmed as a military exercise.
Lynn Dunne, media spokeswoman for RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire, said that Chinook helicopters were flying over South Cumbria between 10pm and 11pm on Wednesday night, the time when most of the noises were reported.
Residents described hearing unusual, rumbling sounds – much louder and more sustained than usual aircraft noise – and the incident led to more than 150 comments being posted on the Evening Mail’s Facebook page, with some users reporting the noise was loud enough to rattle windows.
Facebook user Hayley Sainty said: “Heard at least four loud aircraft flying over our house in Roose. A bit scary.”
Kathi Clark Russell added: “We heard it. Very loud. But training is good. If it makes our pilots more safe, then we can live with that.”
The large-scale exercise involved aircraft from the army, navy and RAF, with the Chinooks heard last night lifting off from the Yorkshire airbase.
While warnings were issued for residents in the base’s immediate surrounding area prior to the exercise, people in Cumbria were not informed.
Councillor Paul Smith, from Ulverston Town Council central ward, reported hearing a succession of noises at his home on Union Lane.
He said: “I saw about two or three heavy aircraft going over and heading out across the bay, but it was too dark to properly make them out.
“It really was quite loud.
“I think there should have been some kind of warning.”An RAF spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “Night flying is an important operational skill for our crews.
“The Chinook is the mainstay of the UK’s helicopter force, providing round-the-clock rapid transport for troops and supplies in Afghanistan, and carrying RAF medical emergency response teams.
“The Royal Air Force always strives to be a good neighbour and to minimise any disturbance caused by our activities. We regret if this training caused any concern. However, our pilots’ world-class training ensures that they carry out such flights safely.”
Ms Dunne added: “We take our responsibility to minimise disturbances very seriously and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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