Forth helicopter mystery: Chinooks and loud bangs at Inchkeith?

Island of Inchkeith in the Firth of Forth. Picture: Jane Bradley
Island of Inchkeith in the Firth of Forth. Picture: Jane Bradley
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Mystery surrounds the noise of helicopters heard over the Firth of Forth coastline last night.

The area has recently seen an increase in spotting of chinook helicopters during the day, however it now seems that there has been military activity in the Forth overnight.

Reports have been received of as many as three helicopters from as far apart as Kinghorn to St Andrews until at least 3am this morning.

Police Scotland have confirmed that their helicopter was not in attendance, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that they had not deployed any to the area.

Kinghorn resident Scott McIlravie, was kept awake by the noise.

“I heard a series of loud bangs at around midnight,” he said.

“I think there was at least one Chinook last night, judging from the noise they make.

“All of the helicopters were circling, and occasionally landing onto, Inchkeith island.

“It went on for hours. I couldn’t sleep.”

The Ministry of Defence, RAF, and Army have all been contacted but so far none have commented.

A number of local residents have reported hearing loud helicopters on the Fife coast.

Kaye Wemyss, said: “They were also buzzing around the St Andrews, Strathkinness area until around 3am this morning.”

Linda Birrell said: “My husband and I work night shift. I was up the road at 1.30am and my husband at the back of 2am. We both went outside and saw two choppers over by bi-fab and one over by Sea Road Methil. They were there up until we went to bed at the back of 3am.”

David Collins of St Andrews said: “I heard the helicopters last night here in St Andrews – probably in the early hours. There have been Chinooks flying in and out of Leuchars over the last few days, so I’d assumed it was them.”

Dan Casey said the choppers appeared to be military and had been spotted over Lundin Links.

“Although they were most frequent last night, every 10 minutes, they had also been flying around during the day and on a few occasions in previous days. I managed to see them during the day and they are definitely military helicopters, I could see the camouflage paint on them.”

Yvonne Armour added: “The helicopter hovered over Lower Largo then left but I could hear it in the distance, then it would return.

“This went on for hours. It kept me awake. At times seemed it hovered overhead. I thought must have been a search. It had black and grey camouflage bodywork, flying very low.”

A document on the MOD’s website giving notice of possible low-flying aircraft indicates an possible, if vague, clue as to what has been going on.

However, it only says that a UK-wide exercise is underway named Chameleon.

• This article was originally published in Fife Today