‘Turbulent weather event’ forced Irish Coastguard helicopter to make ‘controlled landing’ in Derry

The Irish Department of Transport has said a ‘turbulent weather event’ forced an Irish Coastguard helicopter to make a ‘controlled landing’ at City of Derry Airport last week.

Details of the incident were recently made public by Senator Gerard Craughwell.

It has emerged the Sligo-stationed R118 helicopter experienced problems on Sunday, February 5.

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Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Craughwell said: “This morning [Thursday, February 9] I received information that R117 [sic, the 117 is based at Waterford] from Sligo was flying off Derry on Sunday.

A file picture of an Irish Coastguard helicopter.A file picture of an Irish Coastguard helicopter.
A file picture of an Irish Coastguard helicopter.

"The aircraft was overstressed, lost control and exceeded its maximum airspeed. The UK Civil Aviation Authority has impounded the aircraft to conduct a full investigation.”

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A spokesperson for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed: “On Sunday, February 5, the Branch was notified of an Irish Coastguard helicopter which made an emergency landing at City of Derry airport, Eglinton after suffering a serious incident in flight.

"An investigation has been launched and inspectors are in the process of gathering evidence about the circumstances of this event. A report will be published on the AAIB website once the investigation is complete.”

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The Department of Transport confirmed the helicopter, carried out a controlled landing after encountering ‘a turbulent weather event, while en route to a pre-planned training exercise’.

"On foot of this event a comprehensive maintenance check was carried out by a CHC Helicopter engineering team. The helicopter was declared serviceable and returned to service on Tuesday, February 7.

“CHC Helicopter in accordance with standard operating procedures reported the event to the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) and additionally in this instance to the UK Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB).”

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