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Helicopter crashes near River Thames

The pilot of a helicopter which crashed near a river after going into a spin gave a "thumbs-up" as he escaped with minor injuries.

An ambulance crew was called to Mapledurham estate next to the River Thames, near Reading, just before 6pm last night after a helicopter landed on its side.

The helicopter came down at Mapledurham near the River Thames Credit: Luke Howroyd

"We got a call at 17:51 to reports of a helicopter that had come down. We sent two rapid-response vehicles, two ambulance officers and an ambulance crew.

They attended to "two adult males who sustained minor injuries and did not require hospital treatment."

– A spokeswoman for South Central Ambulance Service

Last Merlin helicopter leaves RAF Benson

The last Merlin helicopter leaves RAF Benson Credit: Royal Navy

The final Merlin helicopter has left RAF Benson in Oxfordshire for a new life at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.

The Merlin Force officially transferred to the Royal Navy on 30 September 2014 and the final Merlin helicopter bade a fond farewell to RAF Benson as they flew to their new home at RNAS Yeovilton.

The Merlin came into service with the Royal Air Force in 2001 and contributed to combat and humanitarian operations for over a decade before being transferred to the Royal Navy.


New home for search and rescue helicopters

Search and rescue helicopters that were due to be re-located to Manston Airport could now be housed at Lydd Airport. The aircraft, which are used for rescue operations along the coast, currently operate out of RAF Wattisham in Suffolk. They were due to move to Manston this summer but the airport there has now closed. ITV News Meridian understands that negotiations are now underway to bring the aircraft to Lydd. Tom Savvides talks to parliamentary candidate Lynn Beaumont and the leader of Shepway Council, David Monk.

Philip Hammond unveils new helicopter for RAF Odiham

Philip Hammond unveils the new Mark 6 helicopters, which were ordered in 2011 Credit: Ministry of Defence

The first of the RAFs 14 new Chinook helicopters were unveiled in Hampshire today.

The Defence Secretary revealed the Mark 6 helicopter as part of a £1 billion scheme to improve capabilities for pilots and crew.

Three of the new aircraft have been delivered to the RAF who has started training in the UK Credit: Ministry of Defence

During his visit to RAF Odiham in Hampshire, Philip Hammond also announced a £115 million agreement with Boeing Defence UK to maintain engines of the RAF's increased fleet of 60 Chinooks.

This will replace five existing contracts with one - saving the taxpayer £20 million.

The Defence Secretary and the Chief of the Air Staff, who is a Chinook pilot, were then given a tour of the brand new aircraft.

All 14 new aircraft will be delivered to the MoD before the end of 2015 Credit: Ministry of Defence

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“These state of the art aircraft will provide a significant uplift in helicopter capability operating as the battlefield workhorse of the RAF, supporting the Army on the frontline for decades to come. The 14 new Chinooks will boost our fleet to 60, already the largest in Europe.

Defence Secretary unveils RAF's new helicopter

A Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter will join the fleet at RAF Odiham Credit: ITV Meridian

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond is in Hampshire today to unveil the first of the new RAF helicopters.

The new chinook helicopters comes after the Government's commitment to 1% a year increase in the Ministry of Defence's equipment and support budget.

The aircraft will make it easier to operate in difficult conditions and feature a digital flight control system, including hot and dusty environments such as Afghanistan.

The Defence Secretary is in Odiham to unveil a new helicopter to RAF's force Credit: ITV Meridian

Defence Secretary to unveil new helicopters

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will visit RAF Odiham to unveil new helicopters Credit: Andrew Linnett/MoD/Crown Copyrig/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, will be at RAF Odiham in Hampshire today to unveil the first of the new Mark Six helicopters.

The chinnooks can carry up to 40 people or 10 tonnes of cargo and will increase the Uk's fleet to 60 aircraft.