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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 13:29 GMT
Army removes crashed helicopter
helicopter lifted
The helicopter is removed by the Army
A military helicopter which crashed in south Armagh at the weekend has been lifted by army specialists.

Six people were injured when the helicopter came down in a field in Crossmaglen on Sunday evening.

The remains of the craft were removed by an Army Chinook helicopter on Tuesday and taken to RAF Aldergrove.

Police guarding the site of the crash were attacked on Monday night by youths who threw about 30 petrol bombs as well as bottles and stones.

Chief Superintendent Bobby Hunniford praised local representatives for trying to defuse the situation. He also defended the police handling of events.

"When you're under a barrage of petrol bombs and other missiles it does make it extremely difficult, no matter what community you're operating in.

"Whilst we do try to make arrests, they (the attackers) were able to make their escape into houses.

"But certainly that will be followed up and hopefully those people will be brought to justice," CS Hunniford said.

'Sinister element'

Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy said he believed a "sinister element" was behind the attack on the officers

He said Sinn Fein representatives in the area had talked to parents after the initial attacks and were able to get them stopped.

However, he said some youths returned at about midnight and resumed the violence.

Mr Murphy said those who did so "perhaps had more of an agenda to work out there".

The Newry and Armagh MP said he would speak with people in the area on Tuesday.

"If I think that there is any information from the people who caused damage to the community last night it should be passed on to to the police, because those people who came later on and attacked only succeeded in harming their own community," he said.

Two police vehicles were damaged in the trouble but there were no reports of injuries.

On Sunday, an ambulance taking one of six casualties from the crash was forced to stop because of hostile crowds.

Crashed helicopter (Picture courtesy The Examiner newspaper)
The helicopter crashed into a field

A group of youths ambushed the vehicle in Crossmaglen as it drove towards the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

A total of six people were injured, two airmen and four police officers, in the helicopter crash. A number of them suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

Stones, fireworks and snowballs were hurled at the ambulance crew as they attempted to treat the injured.

The craft crashed into a field close to Lismore housing estate and the grounds of the Crossmaglen Rangers Gaelic Athletic Association club.

Rotors were crushed and the tail had snapped off.

A military investigation is being carried out to find out why the accident happened.

Helicopter being removed from the scene

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