Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 11:35 UK

Crew unhurt in Chinook emergency

Chinook in Helmand
A replacement for the destroyed Chinook is being planned

The British crew escaped injury after a Chinook helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence says.

The crew managed to safely evacuate the helicopter after an engine fire forced the landing in Helmand on Wednesday.

The MoD said it was not ruling out enemy fire as a possible cause for the emergency landing.

The aircraft was deliberately destroyed by a coalition airstrike to keep it out of enemy hands.

The four-strong crew, from RAF Odiham in Hampshire, were picked up by another Chinook immediately after the incident, north of Sangin.

They are believed to have been on a general security flight unrelated to Thursday's election.

The Ministry of Defence said that in the short term other UK aircraft in the region, and those operated by Nato partners, would be able to cover the "helicopter lift requirement".

"In the medium term, the UK's joint helicopter command is already planning the replacement of this airframe," it said.



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