RAF deploys Chinook helicopter to prevent dam from collapsing

Adrian Pingstone

A Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter has been deployed to assist with the reinforcement of a dam about to collapse in Whaley Bridge, United Kingdom.

After the Derbyshire region sustained heavy rain and flood, concrete slabs of Toddbrook Reservoir spillway were damaged by the excessive flow of water. With the structural integrity of the dam compromised, 1000 inhabitants of the nearby town of Whaley Bridge were evacuated.

A CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helicopter was deployed from its base of RAF Odiham. According to the RAF, it has dropped around 150 tons of aggregate, a mixture of sand, gravel and stone, in order to reinforce the damaged dam, and should continue to do so. Meanwhile, water is being pumped away from the reservoir.

“The rapid response of the RAF in deploying a Chinook helicopter will provide extra support in Derbyshire and we stand ready to assist in any way required,” said Mark Lancaster, Minister for the Armed Forces.

An RAF Chinook preparing to drop bags of aggregate into the Toddbrook Reservoir. (Credit: Crown copyright)

Designed in the 1950s as a successor to the H-21 Shawnee, the Chinook CH-47, known as the HC-2 within the RAF, can carry up to 12 tons of cargo over 350 km, thanks to a power of 3,000 shp provided by its two Honeywell T55-L-712 turboshaft engines. Throughout its long career, it has been adopted by over 20 air forces and is still considered for acquisition by modern armies.

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