The aircraft crash that never was

PUBLISHED: 10:41 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:09 28 May 2010

A FULL-SCALE emergency response was launched on Thursday evening following a report that a light aircraft had crashed near Helions Bumpstead. Essex Ambulance Service, Essex Police, emergency response doctors, fire crews from Saffron Walden and Haverhill,

A FULL-SCALE emergency response was launched on Thursday evening following a report that a light aircraft had crashed near Helions Bumpstead.Essex Ambulance Service, Essex Police, emergency response doctors, fire crews from Saffron Walden and Haverhill, a foam tanker from Epping, a rescue unit from Harlow, a six-wheeled off-road response vehicle from Dunmow and the Essex Police helicopter equipped with thermal imaging cameras were all sent to the area after a member of the public reported seeing what he thought was a light aircraft crash shortly after 7pm.But after an extensive search, the call was put down to a false alarm with good intent.Saffron Walden firefighter Paul Curtis said: "A full-scale emergency response was launched to the very rural area between Ashdon and Helions Bumpstead, following a report that an aircraft had been seen going down in woodland."The helicopter was in the air for two hours, scanning the area for heat sources, but found nothing."Fire crews at the scene also had thermal imaging equipment, without which the search would have been made much harder as it was by then dark.A fire service spokesman suggested that the aircraftt may in fact have been an army helicopter, based at Wattisham in Suffolk, carrying out a training exercise.The Ministry of Defence was unable to confirm whether or not there had been a helicopter in the area at the time.

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