RAF jets 'caused chicks' deaths'
Thursday 21 June 2012
The RAF has been accused of causing the deaths of kittiwake chicks when jets flew low over their island nesting sites and scared tens of thousands of birds.
Youngsters were knocked into the sea and drowned in the mass panic which followed the training exercise over the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast on Tuesday.
Locals said they believed a no-fly zone over the wildlife haven was breached, and the National Trust, which manages the islands, will make an official complaint.
Andrew Douglas, who operates two visitor boats from Seahouses, was out at sea with a visitor group when the jets flew over.
He said: "The RAF went right over the top of the islands.
"You should have seen all the people's faces on the boat and seen all the birds go flying into the sky. It was not very nice.
"We have 80,000 pairs of birds here.
"The jets scared them and they knocked the chicks into the sea as they took off.
"I was under the impression there was a no-fly zone here during the breeding season.
"I don't know much about jets, but I would have thought it was really dangerous because if a plane sucked a bird into the engine it could come down."
Mr Douglas said bird numbers were down this year due to the poor weather.
Rain has flooded the puffins' burrows, killing their young.
"The birds have put up with some rubbish this year and the last thing they need is this disturbance."
The National Trust's head ranger on the Farnes, David Steel, voiced concerns on Twitter saying the RAF knew pilots were not supposed to allow jets to fly low over the islands, adding: "Another letter will be winging its way to them."
An RAF spokeswoman said: "Any complaints will be investigated thoroughly and should it be deemed that the rules have been broken, appropriate action will be taken."
Simon Lee, National Trust property manager for The Farne Islands, said: "It's true we've had a number of incidents of low flying jets across The Farne Islands. The matter is being investigated by both the RAF and the National Trust and we are both hoping for a speedy resolution imminently."
- 1 Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Putin critic may have been murdered by Islamic extremists, says president-led committee
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...