Res­cue chop­per in near miss over Skye

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - NEWS -

A large Her­cules mil­i­tary trans­port plane “un­know­ingly” flew dan­ger­ously close to a Coast­guard search and res­cue he­li­copter over Skye, an of­fi­cial probe has heard.

A col­li­sion was avoided be­cause alerts on both air­craft had warned of the dan­ger – though in­ves­ti­ga­tors said safety had been “de­graded.”

The he­li­copter was tak­ing part in a moun­tain res­cue which in­volved a warn­ing to other air­craft – called a tem­po­rary duty as­sign­ment ( TDA).

The C130 Her­cules had de­parted Brize Nor­ton in Ox­ford­shire at 2.25pm on May 30 and the pi­lot said its planned route avoided all the prior warn­ings re­ceived.

How­ever, he was un­aware of the TDA which was is­sued af­ter he de­parted.

Dur­ing the low-level el­e­ment of the op­er­a­tion, at 4.45pm, the air­craft was ma­noeu­vring in a sys­tem of val­leys when a col­li­sion alert sounded for an air­craft 700 foot above the C130 as it crested the ridge­line.

The other air­craft was iden­ti­fied as a coast­guard he­li­copter which ini­ti­ated a left turn.

In its re­port, HQ Air Com­mand said: “The lim­i­ta­tions of line-of-sight when fly­ing in val­leys is well known. Given the na­ture of the ter­rain it is un­likely that ef­fec­tive two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tions could have been es­tab­lished.”

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