The inhabitants of the tiny hamlet of Fernán Pérez near Nijar woke up Saturday morning to discover a toppled over helicopter in the middle of a field. There is no sign of it having crashed, or who was piloting it.
Police have had it sealed off all day and continue to examine the machine. However, sources say that the helicopter was probably carrying a large amount of illicit drugs from Africa, and landed in Nijar to unload the drugs to vehicles.
So far the police have refused to say why the helicopter toppled over, and it’s not known if it fell over or was pushed. What seems clear is that it landed normally in a controlled fashion. One theory is that it was abandoned after having a mechanical problem that prevented it from taking off again.
It’s a heavy duty helicopter with a large cargo bay, similar to the model used by the Spanish forest fire brigade INFOCA for aerial duties, capable of carrying up to two tons.
It’s certainly not the first time that helicopters or planes have been found abandoned in fields by drug runners, but normally that’s because the landing damaged them too badly for them to take off again.
The helicopter has been reported by a local newspaper as being chartered from a company called SKYHelicópteros, who provide helicopter servicing and chartering, and has previously been used for fire fighting duties elsewhere in Spain.
El helicóptero de Níjar fue de SKYHelicópteros, proveedora oficial de #tve entre otros. Podía cargar hasta 2000 kg pic.twitter.com/cDPYAnkuxM
— Teleprensa (@teleprensa) April 5, 2015
With typical Spanish humour, politics have quickly been woven into the saga.
#podemos @isaranjuez @Lainalovicht @Zurine3 @fermont1965 Confirmado: PODEMOS está detrás del helicóptero de Nijar. pic.twitter.com/hdd7XTRbs6
— El Claudillo (@El_Claudillo) April 5, 2015
Here’s a photo of the helicopter in 2012 in service with the BRIF, the fire fighting brigade of Avila:
Presentacion de la campaña verano 2010 @briftabuyo con helicóptero aparecido en Nijar #BRIF #IIFF pic.twitter.com/Ipz6CLmJ9x
— BRIF TABUYO (@briftabuyo) April 5, 2015