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13 October 2000 Edition

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British army helicopter crash lands

Sinn Fein's Newry and Armagh Assembly member Conor Murphy has accused the British military of placing lives at risk after it was confirmed that a British army helicopter had crashed near Glassdrummond.

The Wessex helicopter crashed within the grounds of the British army base about 10 metres from the landing pad. A British army spokesperson said the pilot had flown to the nearest barracks after experiencing mechanical difficulties during a flight in South Armagh. The British army's claim that the helicopter sustained no structural damage has been disputed by local people who said that the tail of the aircraft had been broken.

Last Thursday, residents in the area observed a number of these helicopters carrying huge pallets of building materials strung underneath into Glassdrummond barracks. One of these helicopters appeared to be in some difficulty, with thick black smoke streaming from it's engine.

``The fact that these helicopters are still being flown after Thursday night's incident highlights the couldn't care less attitude adopted by the British military towards the safety of the people of South Armagh,'' said Murphy.

Monaghan Sinn Féin County Councillor Jackie Crowe said: ``It is only a matter of time before a civilian is killed by one of these British army helicopters. This is a danger not only to the people of South Armagh but to people on this side of the border in Counties Monaghan and Louth where British choppers make regular incursions.''

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