Pilot aborted landing after wall destroyed while on emergency call in Waltham Abbey

Wall destroyed as air ambulance hovers near homes

Judith Cowchman has spoken of her shock at finding the wall destroyed

Elderly couple's wall destroyed by air ambulance

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

An air ambulance blew over a wall as it hovered low near homes while struggling to land on an emergency call.

Alan Cowchman, of Fullers Close in Waltham Abbey, said he was “frightened for his life” as the helicopter flew above his house at 9.20am yesterday.

The pilot attempted to land as homes shook from the power generated from the helicopter's blades, blowing Leaves and debris around and knocking down the wall.

Mr Cowchman, 85, who was home alone at the time, said: “I felt as though I was going to panic, I thought 'this is it, the end is coming'. 

“It was so low, I couldn’t believe it.

“We have trees all around the house and the force coming from the rotary blades knocked the wall down.

“The house was shaking and vibrating. I don’t scare easily but I was frightened for my life.”

The helicopter, which was called after concerns were raised for a neighbour, soon aborted the landing and flew to nearby Hill House.

Mr Cowchman's wife Judith, 78, said: “I was at work at the time and I received a phonecall telling me what had happened. I was so shocked, it’s not something you expect to hear.

“It must have been very low for the force to knock over my wall. Alan must have been really scared.”

Neighbour Julie Adams, 55, Fullers Close, was also startled as the air ambulance hovered near her home.

She said: “I went into the back garden to see it fly over and it was so low and the wind was so strong that I could barely close the back door to come inside.

“It was really scary, there are leaves everywhere.”

Mr and Mrs Cowchman called their son, Tony Cowchman, 56, who arrived to move bricks obstructing a pathway used by children on the estate.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it, there were leaves in the house, a mirror blown out the window and bricks everywhere. It must have been very low to cause this much damage.”

An Air Ambulance spokeswoman said: The Pilot will always try and get as close to the incident as possible for speed of access to the patient by the clinicians on board, but cannot just land anywhere as there are strict safety guidelines to be adhered to in relation to the size of the landing site and performance of the helicopter itself.

“It is a fact that on very few occasions damage is caused to property on the ground. Any damage is obviously unintentional and regrettable.

“However, should this happen there is a process where the operator, Medical Aviation Services, investigates the claim and where substantiated, cause the owner to be compensated.

“We look forward to hearing from [the individual concerned] so that we can discuss this in more detail and take forward to Medical Aviation Services. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local communities for their continued support of their local Air Ambulance Charity.”  

Air ambulance medics treated the patient and he was taken to hospital.

 

Comments (6)

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7:56pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

Er yeah that is a good one, may try that with my leaning fence.
Er yeah that is a good one, may try that with my leaning fence. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -6

12:02pm Wed 6 Aug 14

myopinioncounts says...

Some years ago the Air Ambulance landed on a small patch of grass outside (the then) Edward Redhead School in Higham Hill Road Walthamstow. The skill of the pilot to land in such a small space was remarkable AND the school wall, some 6 foot high, was not damaged at all.
I took a number photos of it as it landed and missed an opportunity by not thinking to sell them to the Guardian.
Some years ago the Air Ambulance landed on a small patch of grass outside (the then) Edward Redhead School in Higham Hill Road Walthamstow. The skill of the pilot to land in such a small space was remarkable AND the school wall, some 6 foot high, was not damaged at all. I took a number photos of it as it landed and missed an opportunity by not thinking to sell them to the Guardian. myopinioncounts
  • Score: 2

1:22pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Alan_1976 says...

Villagecranberry wrote:
Er yeah that is a good one, may try that with my leaning fence.
You should take that up with your landlord...
[quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: Er yeah that is a good one, may try that with my leaning fence.[/p][/quote]You should take that up with your landlord... Alan_1976
  • Score: 7

2:28pm Wed 6 Aug 14

ruby newbie says...

old single brick wall... obviously not that strong that's what you pay all that insurance for...... try get a two width one next time will stand the test of time ...and ignore village cranberry says things just for the sake of it
old single brick wall... obviously not that strong that's what you pay all that insurance for...... try get a two width one next time will stand the test of time ...and ignore village cranberry says things just for the sake of it ruby newbie
  • Score: 4

10:03am Sat 23 Aug 14

kingRichard3rd says...

Moan moan moan thats all people do these day take your head out ur anus and bums caused one day the u might need the flying angels who do a excellent great work u should be praising flying ambulance service and ambulance workers 97% of them are like trained angels from g.o.d
Moan moan moan thats all people do these day take your head out ur anus and bums caused one day the u might need the flying angels who do a excellent great work u should be praising flying ambulance service and ambulance workers 97% of them are like trained angels from g.o.d kingRichard3rd
  • Score: 0

10:19am Sat 23 Aug 14

kingRichard3rd says...

Probably wall was built cheap with a dodgy brick layer check these words a wall or building that is deemed unsafe is a hazard to the public & against health & safety a child or someone could have been killed by ur dodgy wall the flying amazing flying ambulance workers came to save a life & ur wall could have taken somebody's sweet life away whenever I am unwell ambulance workers take great care of me & all the nurses & doctors too this king will defend all the workers of the nhs at all times they all do a great & very hard job 2 save lives & make sick people better
Probably wall was built cheap with a dodgy brick layer check these words a wall or building that is deemed unsafe is a hazard to the public & against health & safety a child or someone could have been killed by ur dodgy wall the flying amazing flying ambulance workers came to save a life & ur wall could have taken somebody's sweet life away whenever I am unwell ambulance workers take great care of me & all the nurses & doctors too this king will defend all the workers of the nhs at all times they all do a great & very hard job 2 save lives & make sick people better kingRichard3rd
  • Score: 1

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