HC Deb 04 March 1997 vol 291 c589W
Mr. Jamieson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the loss of the Lynx helicopter from HMS Monmouth off Plymouth on 25 February; and what the helicopter will cost to replace. [18424]

Mr. Soames

HMS Monmouth was exercising in the channel south of the Eddystone light on 25 February, in heavy seas, when the lashing securing her Lynx helicopter to the flight deck broke, causing the aircraft to topple overboard following a sequence of heavy rolls by the ship. The crew of the helicopter, who were aboard the aircraft at the time, were recovered shaken but uninjured. The Royal Navy has begun an inquiry into the incident.

It is intended to salvage the aircraft so that the extent of the damage to it, and the possibility of returning it to service, can be assessed. HMS Monmouth is currently being provided with a replacement Lynx from within the existing aircraft fleet. It is too early to say what further action, if any, will be required to replace the damaged aircraft, or what the costs would be.