Heavy-lifting equipment used to free military helicopter stuck in muddy field

Heavy-lifting equipment has been used to free an RAF Chinook helicopter which has been stuck in a muddy field for six days after making a precautionary landing.

The helicopter, from 28 Squadron, landed in the field near Wantage on January 5 following a mechanical issue.

RAF Benson in Oxfordshire said the aircraft “soon sank” into the ground, probably due to the extended period of wet weather recently.

Engineers were able to fix the mechanical issue but it has taken several days for arrangements to be made to free the helicopter which has involved laying 250ft of track and using two cranes.

RAF Chinook in Oxfordshire
Heavy machinery arrives at the site where an RAF Chinook helicopter got stuck in mud (Steve Parsons/PA)

An RAF Benson spokesman said: “We’re pleased to confirm that the Chinook that became stuck in a field near Wantage last week has been lifted successfully and is now out of the mud.

“Our engineers are now checking the aircraft, and once safe to do so, it will be flown home to RAF Benson.

“Given the muddy conditions and freezing weather, it has been a challenging operation to free the Chinook, particularly as we needed to ensure we didn’t damage the aircraft in doing so.

“Specialist tri-service teams, including the Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron and the Royal Engineers, were called in to assist the Chinook experts in devising a solution that would successfully free the aircraft.

“A number of options were considered and it was agreed that the best option would be to lift the aircraft onto a platform using cranes.

“The specialist teams worked together to prepare the ground, including laying over 250 feet of suitable trackway for the heavy-lifting equipment.

“Once the equipment arrived, it was a swift process to prepare the aircraft to be moved and it was then lifted by two cranes onto the waiting platform.”

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