Around 45,000 homes and businesses in the eastern province of Gelderland province were still without electricity on Thursday afternoon after an Apache helicopter rammed into a high voltage electricity pylon during a training mission on Wednesday evening.
Soldiers from the engineering corps were called in to help restore power because of difficulties in reaching the mast, which is situated on a flood plain and surrounded by water.
Soldiers have been using pontoons to reach the mast but work has been hampered by the fast-flowing Waal river.
Telephone services have also been disrupted and shipping on the Waal halted as a precaution.
In total over 800,000 people in the area known as the Bommelerwaard were hit by the power cut yesterday but between 4,000 and 5,000 were reconnected by Thursday morning. Key buildings such as old people’s homes are operating on emergency generators.
The military police have now begun an investigation into the crash.
In the recording of the pilot’s contact with base which has been broadcast by NOS TV, the pilot is heard to say ‘I don’t know what happened, we have hit something’ before making an emergency landing. No-one was hurt in the incident.
A military spokesman said the pilots were not being ‘reckless’ when the accident happened. It is difficult to find an area in the Netherlands where there are no pylons for pilots to practise low-level flying, he said.
The army says it will ‘use reason’ when examining damages claims. And the military is donating its services to help restore electricity free ‘as a matter of course’, news agency ANP reported.
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