Speculation over town helicopter


A helicopter seen flying over Lurgan last week has been the subject of fevered speculation on social media sites.

The PSNI is adamant they had no helicopter in the vicinity on Wednesday evening, August 21.

The Civil Aviation Authoritiy (CAA) says it has no means of tracking helicopter activity. A spokesperson said only logs kept are when a helicopter lands or takes off from an airfield. He said if the chopper is flying in uncontrolled airspace it is not logged.

However if the helicopter was flying below 1,000ft in a built up area it could be regarded as a safety risk and a matter for the CAA to investigate.

A large number of residents say they saw the aircraft flying low. Eyewitnesses claim the helicopter had spotlights and appeared to be searching for something.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “I have checked and we have no incidents involving the helicopter last night over Lurgan.” While a Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “We have routine movement of helicopters not just for logistical support but for training purposes but security in NI is a matter fully for the PSNI.”

On the Lurgan Mail Facebook page, Sean Creaney said: “The whole of Lurgan saw the helicopter and its spotlight last night. And there was me thinking the police knew everything.”

Maurice Magill said: “How could they not have known? It was flying over Shankill which is only a few hundred yards from a highly fortified station and surveillance cameras all over the town that are supposed to be monitored.” And St John’s Church Lurgan said: “Heard The Heli myself!”