A HELICOPTER crash-landed while attempting to take off at Marchwood Military Port, an inquiry has found.

The crew of a Sikorsky S-61N Sea King were about to test its hovering ability when it nose-dived and hit the ground coming to rest on its landing gear.

No-one was injured in the incident but the aircraft had to be scrapped.

An Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said the commander and co-pilot felt a thump when the aircraft struck the tarmac.

The AAIB said: "Despite the co-pilot being slightly dazed he commenced the emergency shutdown checklist and called to the commander to apply the rotor brake.

“Both pilots then evacuated the helicopter and, once outside, went to check that the engineers were unhurt. There were no injuries.”

The incident resulted in the front equipment bay of the commercial helicopter being crushed and the bay door becoming detached.

The helicopter operated in the Falklands for four years until late December 2017 when it was transferred by ship to Marchwood.

According to the AAIB report its rotor blades were removed and no covers were used to protect important parts of the aircraft before it was unloaded at Marchwood in January 2018.

It was due to perform a hover check on February 1 2018 before being flown to Bournemouth Airport to be refuelled so it could travel to the operator’s base in Newquay.

The AAIB report says the accident was caused by mechanical issues caused mainly by the helicopter being inactive during its transportation.

It also says the did not do all the pre-flight checks.

Recording data from the flight revealed the commander said there was “not time” to do a “full and free” check of the helicopter, says the report.