More images after Army Apache gunship makes forced landing in field near Sleaford as Storm Ciara batters the county

Olly Waite's photo of the downed Apache helicopter weathering the storm on Saturday evening.
Olly Waite's photo of the downed Apache helicopter weathering the storm on Saturday evening.

Storm Ciara has battered Lincolnshire over the weekend with numerous reports from emergency services of damage to buildings, power lines and roads blocked by trees.

As winds began to pick up on Saturday afternoon, an Apache gunship helicopter from the British Army Air Corps' Attack Helicopter Battlegroup developed hydraulic problems and had to make a landing in a fenland field near Helpringham.

The commander of the unit took it in good spirits and tweeted: "If you happen to see an Apache parked in a field in Lincolnshire, don’t worry! Due to a technical issue, the crew made a precautionary landing in a field. Our engineers are looking at it now. They may have to weather out the coming storm though before it comes home!"

Technicians from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers descended om the field to diagnose the problem and start to fix it, but sure enough, it did have to stay the night.

The commander then reported on Sunday that due to the storm they would have to wait it out until Monday, inviting locals to come and look, joking: "In case of being stuck in a field during #StormCiara ...lash yourself to the ground like you are on a ship! Not the right weather for high tech engineering. We’ll let it blow through and then have a better look tomorrow. In the meantime, do say hi to the team if you are passing."

They posted several photos of the machine, and Olly Waite, from Heckington also shared a photo of the downed aircraft with us.

Another image of the grounded Apache from Olly Waite, of Heckington.

Another image of the grounded Apache from Olly Waite, of Heckington.

Olly said: "We spoke to the pilots, they were very happy for us to talk to them and take pictures of it. Many people brought them hot food and drinks. It was a hydraulics failure, they told me.

"They said they needed to find out if it could take off here after being fixed or just loaded on the back of a lorry.

"There were about seven or eight people there when I went, all trying to help the pilots out where they could."

Laura Wesley and her family posed for photos with the chopper and said: "We got to it just as it broke down! Our kids thought it was amazing!"

The stranded Apache in the field at Helpringham Fen on Monday morning. Photo: David Dawson

The stranded Apache in the field at Helpringham Fen on Monday morning. Photo: David Dawson

Steve Ingram was also nearby and explained: "It nearly took my head of I was in the next field to it. I thought he was waving at us, probably telling us to move out the way.
"It had nothing to do with Storm Ciara though as this was calm conditions on Saturday."

Fee Lightfoot added: "We took hot drinks down to the crew, just after it had landed. They were so lovely and would have had to keep going to the Co-op in Heckington otherwise!"

Meanwhile emergency services and highways engineers were swamped by calls related to Storm Ciara.

By 7pm on Sunday evening, the police force control room stated: "So far today we have dealt with 628 calls for service.....238 of them were linked to Storm Ciara.....and the day is not yet over!! Thanks go to everyone helping out and to all the other agencies working alongside us today....teamwork!! #StormCiaraUk."

The helicopter was tethered down to weather the storm after it had to make a forced landed due to hydraulic issues. Photo: David Dawson

The helicopter was tethered down to weather the storm after it had to make a forced landed due to hydraulic issues. Photo: David Dawson

On Sunday they warned that one lane of Swaton Lane at Swaton on a blind bend was blocked by a fallen tree, while the A15 between the B1202 and the turning for Navenby onto Green Man Lane was also obstructed by a fallen tree on Sunday morning as the gales reached their peak.

There was also concern about a tree at Boston Road Recreation Ground in Sleaford and the A153 at Ancaster was temporarily blocked this morning (Monday) when a shed roof blew off into the road.

Lisa Tidy, clerk at Sleaford Town Council said: "There was a report of a tree leaning on a fence at the recreation ground. This was inspected on Sunday.

"On inspection, this tree was leaning fairly close to the fence, but it had always had a lean and was not going to fall.

"All sites have been visited today and whilst there has been a few small branches fall and plenty of litter blown on to our sites, no trees have currently been damaged on council land by the storm."

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service said they received 40 weather related calls on Sunday and their crews and officers had attended 17 of these calls around the county.

Unusual farm machinery! Photo: David Dawson

Unusual farm machinery! Photo: David Dawson

The county council closed all its household recycling centres for safety reasons on Sunday too and there was disruption to rail services caused by speed restrictions on the lines due to the wind.

Army engineers were on the scene looking after the aircraft. Photo: David Dawson

Army engineers were on the scene looking after the aircraft. Photo: David Dawson

The helicopter proved quite an attraction for locals. Photo: David Dawson

The helicopter proved quite an attraction for locals. Photo: David Dawson