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Military plane in near miss with coastguard rescue helicopter over Skye

A coastguard helicopter (Getty Images)
A coastguard helicopter (Getty Images)

A LARGE Hercules military transport plane “unknowingly” flew dangerously close to a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter over Skye, an official probe has heard.

A collision was avoided because alerts on both aircraft had warned of the danger – though investigators said safety had been “degraded.”

The helicopter was taking part in a mountain rescue which involved a warning to other aircraft – called a temporary duty assignment (TDA).

The C130 Hercules had departed Brize Norton in Oxfordshire at 2.25pm on May 30 and the pilot said its planned route avoided all the prior warnings received.

However, he was unaware of the TDA which was issued after he departed.

During the low-level element of the operation, at 4.45pm, the aircraft was manoeuvring in a system of valleys when a collision alert sounded for an aircraft 700 foot above the C130 as it crested the ridgeline.

The other aircraft was identified as a coastguard helicopter which initiated a left turn.

In its report, HQ Air Command said: “The limitations of line-of-sight when flying in valleys is well known. Given the nature of the terrain it is unlikely that effective two-way communications could have been established.”