Winterton beach stop for RAF crew to buy ice cream

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Media captionThe crew's ice cream landing at Winterton was caught on camera by photographer Adrian Buck

A decision by a Suffolk rescue helicopter crew to land on a Norfolk beach to buy four ice creams has been called "unconventional" by the RAF.

The four-man crew from Wattisham Airfield landed a Sea King helicopter on Winterton beach while training.

Leaving the helicopter running, crew members purchased three Magnum Classics and one Magnum White from a beach cafe.

The RAF said crews often carried out beach landings and "were taking the opportunity to practise this skill".

Cpl John Birch, based at Wattisham Airfield, said: "The decision to obtain refreshments on a hot day during this sortie, whilst being unconventional, is not against regulations."

Francis Ford, an assistant at the Winterton Dunes Beach Cafe, said: "We were busy in the cafe and all of sudden everyone stood up and went to the window as this yellow rescue helicopter had landed.

'Like a sitcom'

"We thought there was an emergency, but they came into the cafe said, 'Can we have four ice creams?'

"I thought they were joking, but obviously not - the holidaymakers loved it."

Photographer Adrian Buck, from Caister-on-Sea, captured the moment on camera last Wednesday while working for a charity that helps disabled people.

He said: "I was shooting some images for the Great Yarmouth charity Centre 81 when the helicopter came flying along the shoreline and went overhead.

Image caption The crew waited with the rotor blades still turning for their ice creams to arrive

"The chap I was with jokingly said 'perhaps they'll be coming back for an ice cream'. It was like a sitcom. Just as he said it, that's exactly what they did.

"They didn't power the helicopter down and I'd assumed they'd gone to the coastguards office, but as they came back I saw they had something in their hand.

"Only as I left did I ask the coastguard what they wanted and they said they'd just gone to the cafe."

The helicopter, from 22 Squadron, carries out regular training missions along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.

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