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Low-flying Herc causes huge stir across East Lancashire
A LOW-flying military plane caused a stir when it swooped over rooftops and trees across East Lancashire.
Scores of people witnessed the RAF Hercules plane as it carried out a night time training exercise on Tuesday night.
The aircraft, which is based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, flew over Darwen, Accrington, Rossendale and Burnley.
Steven Whitehead, from The Kilns, in Burnley, was walking his dog Roxy in Towneley Park at 8.50pm when the military transport aircraft swooped overhead.
“It was flying really low and was just above the trees,” he said.
“It was massive. I heard a bit of a whoosh and it suddenly appeared. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought it was going to crash at one point as it was extremely low. It was crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Julie Stanley watched in amazement as the plane flew over Chapel Street, Haslingden, with her daughter Megan, 12. She said: “It was so low it was like you could reach out and touch it. Megan said ‘Did you see the plane mummy?’ as we just arrived home and I looked up and saw it. It was mad.”
Rising Bridge resident Phillip Heap, 36, said: “We could literally see the pilot. He had to pull up over the hill and then he banked around and went towards Burnley. It was quite a manoeuvre.”
Coun David Heginbotham, who represents the Cliviger with Worsthorne ward, said: “It flew over about 7.30pm and I thought, good lord, that is low.
“I thought it was going to hit the hillside. It cleared the hilltop by about 100 feet.
“It was lovely to see old aircraft still flying, it gave me a bit of a buzz.” Dorothy Farrington, who lives in All Saints’ Close and is a Goodshaw ward councillor, said she and her two grandsons, 12 and nine, went out into the garden to see what was going on. She said: “My grandsons were saying ‘wow, wow’, they were really excited. We were dancing about and waving, pretending we could see the people in the cock pit.”
A spokesman for the RAF confirmed the plane was conducting routine low-level night flying training. He said: “The RAF always strives to be a good neighbour and to minimise any disturbance caused by our activities. We regret if the flight caused any concern.
“However, our pilots’ world-class training ensures that they carry out such flights safely.”