Published: 11:31, 26 July 2020
| Updated: 17:07, 26 July 2020
Emergency crews are currently at the scene of a helicopter crash near the A299 Thanet Way in Herne Bay.
The chopper - believed to be a Robinson R44 - came down in a field near the junction of Heart in Hand Road and Margate Road just after 10am.
It is thought as many as four people were onboard and the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing.
An officer at the scene told our reporter everyone made it out safe and well, but there is concern over fuel left in the aircraft.
Police remain at the scene keeping people away from the wreckage.
A KFRS spokesman said: "Firefighters were called to reports of a helicopter crash in the vicinity of A299 Thanet Way and Heart In Hand Road, near Herne Bay.
"Thankfully there was no fire or persons trapped, so crews were able to make the scene safe while paramedics provided care to the pilot and passengers.
"The scene has now been passed to Kent Police to liaise with air accident investigators."
Firefighters, the ambulance service, a Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and HM Coastguard were also called to the scene.
As of 12.15pm, just one patrol car remained, awaiting a team to recover the wreckage.
The crash was not close to any homes but the Huntsman and Horn pub is situated across the field in Margate Road.
Manager Beverley Clayton said: "We didn't hear a thing.
"The first we knew of it was when we saw the ambulance and fire brigade rushing past and a customer looked online.
"The road is clear and traffic is passing normally. We're open as normal."
She said that aircraft frequently fly in the area due to the nearby Maypole Airfield however there has been fewer in recent months because of lockdown.
Traffic management operator, Paul Shipley-Weller, had been closing a nearby road for BT workers to check a telephone line when the helicopter went overhead.
The 49-year-old, from Romney, said: "I was at the junction of Margate Road and Ford Road when I saw it go by - it caught my attention as it was very low. The strange thing was the noise stopped very suddenly - I thought maybe it had gone behind some houses which had blocked the sound but then we found out it had crashed.
"I got there about 10 minutes after it happened. You could see what looked like the pilot walking around and everyone was ok. At least it missed the A299, it was just a few hundred feet away."
He added: "It was something you never expect to see.
"The strangest thing was the lack of noise - you would have thought it would make some noise."
A police spokesman said: "Kent Police was contacted at 10.05am on Sunday, July 26 and notified that a helicopter had carried out an emergency landing in a field near Heart in Hand Road, Herne Bay.
"Officers are attending the scene along with partner agencies. No serious injuries have been reported.
"The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has been informed."
The chopper is understood to have taken off from Thurrock in Essex shortly after 8.30am and had been bound for Manston Airport in Ramsgate before changing course and making the emergency landing.
The AAIB has confirmed it is in contact with Kent Police over the incident but will not comment further while investigations are taking place.
The incident comes exactly 22 years to the day of a helicopter tragedy in the county.
On July 26, 1998, Kent Air Ambulance crashed into woodland near Blue Bell Hill.
Pilot Graham Budden and paramedics Mark Darby and Tony Richardson, who dedicated their lives to saving others, died instantly.
The men were on their way back to Rochester Airport from an aborted call to a road accident on the A2 at Cuxton when the helicopter lost height and hit power cables.
A memorial plaque in tribute to the trio is sited in Common Road, Blue Bell Hill.
More by this authorJoe Walker
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