Limit on helicopter flights

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The Independent Online
THE RAF has restricted helicopters of the type that crashed into a lake in Wales last week killing three teenage air cadets to essential military flights, writes Helen Nowicka.

The ban on Wessex helicopters came into force yesterday and will last until civil investigators determine what caused Thursday's accident.

Christopher Bailey, 15, Amanda Whitehead, 17, and Mark Oakden, 17, all from Greater Manchester, could not escape after the helicopter slowly circled into Llyn Padarn during a training flight. Amateur video recordings of the crash showed the tail rotor had stopped.

Yesterday an RAF spokesman said 52 Wessex helicopters, including the two in the Queen's Flight, are affected by the restriction.

'They are only being used for urgent operational flights, for instance they will still be able to perform search and rescue duties but not training flights,' he said.