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US helicopter brings curious crowd after emergency landing in eastern German field

A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook stands in a field awaiting repairs after it made an emergency landing near the eastern German town of Delitzsch on Monday, June 4, 2018.

By MARCUS KLOECKNER AND MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 6, 2018

A U.S. Army helicopter that remains stuck in a field in eastern Germany after a forced landing has become a local tourist attraction, regularly drawing more than 100 onlookers at times.

The Chinook helicopter is awaiting repairs after it landed near Delitzsch, in the state of Saxony, about 12:30 p.m. Monday because of technical problems, German and U.S. officials said.

The helicopter was flying from Katterbach, in Bavaria, to participate in the large-scale Saber Strike 18 exercise in Poland when it began to overheat, leading soldiers to land as a precaution, Army officials said.

“The oil temperature got hotter and hotter and did not cool down,” said pilot Cpt. Tucker Sulzberger, according to the German news site Tag24. “For this case, there is an emergency protocol that tells us to land as fast as possible.”

The helicopter crew wasn’t injured during the landing and is staying in a nearby hotel as the Chinook awaits repairs.

U.S. soldiers are working with German military police to provide 24-hour security, Army spokesman Michael Huth said.

The Army expects replacement parts to arrive Thursday. It will take about 24 hours to fix the Chinook and fly it back to Bavaria, officials said.

The Army is investigating the cause of the overheating.

Delitzsch police chief Klaus-Dieter Kablitz said that “the moment the helicopter went down, people started to come to the field to check it out.”

“There are almost always between 100-150 people there (on the field),” Kablitz said. “For such a small town, this is an attraction.”

Military air traffic controllers notified police that the helicopter went off the radar on Monday, Kablitz said.

“We immediately were alarmed and started to search for the helicopter,” Kablitz said. They prepared for the worst, but “luckily we soon got informed that the helicopter safely landed on a field,” he said.

Kablitz said that a second helicopter landed to pick up a Humvee and equipment that the first helicopter had carried.

“Considering how huge this type of helicopter is, it is amazing that it can fly at all,” Kablitz said of the Chinook, a tandem-rotor, heavy-lift aircraft. The helicopter is a global mainstay for the Army in a variety of transport missions.

kloeckner.marcus@stripes.com
egnash.martin@stripes.com

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