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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007, 20:23 GMT
Army helicopter crashes near base
Crashed helicopter (Picture courtesy The Examiner newspaper)
The helicopter crashed into a field near a built-up area
A military helicopter has crashed into a field in south Armagh.

It happened in the village of Crossmaglen just before 1800 GMT on Sunday at Foxfield Road, close to a British army base and a housing estate.

Four police officers and two military personnel were taken to hospital, with three later released after treatment. One is being treated for a back injury.

The cause of the accident is not yet clear, but police said there was no indication of any terrorist link.

It is understood at least one of the casualties was airlifted to Craigavon Area Hospital while others were taken to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

As well as the person being treated for a serious back injury, two soldiers also remain in hospital.

Eyewitnesses said the Lynx helicopter had clipped a fence near the Lismore housing estate before crashing in the field.

Crossmaglen police station
Helicopters take staff to and from Crossmaglen police station

The police said that ambulance crews removing the casualties from the scene came under attack by local youths throwing stones, fireworks and snowballs.

Similar attacks were made on police officers on the ground. There are no reports of any casualties.

Local Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy said the crash had happened near a densely populated area.

SDLP assembly member Dominic Bradley said he had expressed concerns in the past about helicopter flights in the area.

"These flights pose a threat to the safety of local people as well as to police personnel," he said.

Last month, the Army guard post at Crossmaglen police station was removed as part of the government's plans to scale down the military presence in Northern Ireland.

The site has been transformed for use solely as a police station.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Details of the crash



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