Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Puma military helicopter crash lands in Hampshire

The crew of a military helicopter suffered minor injuries after crash landing near an industrial estate in Hampshire.

The Puma helicopter was on a training exercise from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire when it came down in a field close to the A303 in Andover at about 1330 BST.

The pilot and two crew members were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

An eyewitness said he heard an "incredible noise" before watching the crew crawl out of the wreckage.

Brent Wilfort, who lives nearby, said: "I had just come home for lunch when I could hear a helicopter flying very low.

'Sky filled'

"Then there was this incredible noise, like a pile-driver whacking the ground three or four times... which must have been the propellers hitting the ground.

"I thought that wasn't normal and went running out dialling 999 as I did.

"I watched as the three chaps crawled out from underneath."

He said the "sky quickly filled" with several other military helicopters, the air ambulance and the coastguard helicopter.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service was also called in case of any spilled aviation fuel.

The Ministry of Defence said no buildings or vehicles were involved in the incident and it would investigate the crash.

An RAF spokeswoman said the crew brought the helicopter down to make an "emergency landing" after the aircraft developed a problem.

She said: "The crew members were safely recovered with minor injuries and their next of kin have been informed.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on the cause of the incident until the ongoing investigation is complete."

The Puma is a battlefield helicopter used to move troops and heavy loads.

It can carry up to 16 fully-equipped men or two tonnes of freight.