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It’s enough to make any pilot pause.

Earlier this month, an online newspaper reported that a villager upset about low-level flight exercises might have taken a shot at a helicopter during one such excursion in Norfolk.

The claim that a shotgun had been discharged toward a helicopter along the north Norfolk coast during a recent exercise was reported by the online newspaper EDP 24 on Aug. 16, but British and American officials said there doesn’t appear to be any truth to the alleged incident.

According to the EDP 24 report, the issue was brought to light after a local member of Parliament received a letter complaining about aircraft noise along the coast and claiming that somebody had taken the shot out of frustration.

“I was horrified to hear that someone had become so incensed that they fired a shotgun at a helicopter,” Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said in the EDP 24 report.

But it appears now that it was a case of small-town scuttlebutt, according to Jonathan Smith, a spokesman for the Norfolk Constabulary.

“It would appear it is something that’s been fabricated over a conversation in a pub,” Smith said. “They put two and two together and made five.”

Maj. John Haynes, a spokesman for 3rd Air Force, which commands all U.K.-based Air Force units, said last week that no unit that owns helicopters believes they were shot at during the recent exercises.

Besides, he said, it would take more than a villager’s shotgun to take down a chopper.

“You just can’t hit a helicopter at 1,000 feet with a shotgun,” Haynes said.


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