Three hurt as police helicopter crash lands in field

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A POLICE helicopter was last night forced to make a crash landing in remote countryside.

The accident occurred at around 10:15pm just outside the village of Muirkirk in East Ayrshire, according to emergency services.

Three people were thought to have been in the aircraft, but their injuries were described as “not serious” by the ambulance service.

They were taken to Ayr Hospital for treatment.

A police source said: “One had a broken leg and the other two had minor injuries.

“It was a controlled landing so some praise must go to the pilot.”

At the time of the accident, the helicopter had been searching for a missing person.

It was not known if they were found or why the helicopter was forced to ditch on farmland.

Last night police and air accident investigators were making their way to the scene of the crash to try to determine the cause.

The helicopter is believed to be the only one owned by the force.

In 1990, a Strathclyde police helicopter to crashed into a block of old people’s flats in Eastwood Toll, Glasgow, killing a police sergeant and injuring four others.

Sgt Malcolm Herd, 30, a father of four, died after the Bell Jet Ranger hit the flats although none of the residents were hurt. The helicopter, normally used as a “flying eye” for traffic reports, became lost in a snow storm as it hunted for a robbery getaway car.

At about 300 ft, when the pilot was preparing to land near a roundabout on the southern outskirts of Glasgow, the engine failed.

The Jet Ranger made a steep left turn before a rotor tip hit a wall protruding from the flats at 70 ft. It fell 45 ft before crashing into the flats and then plummeting in two sections to the ground, said a report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

The 19-year-old machine was on hire and maintained by Clyde Helicopters of Glasgow. The AAIB report said a missing piece of equipment to help flying in snow was missing.

Fifteen months before the accident Bell sent out an instruction that operators should fit a snow deflector, to ensure that the engine oxygen intake did not block during snowstorms.