Mystery still surrounds Derry night time noises as NIO probed
The Secretary of State’s office is investigating concerns about mysterious sounds in the night skies over Londonderry.
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey wrote to Owen Paterson amid frustration that people were being wakened by relentless aircraft activity into the early morning.
An NIO spokeswoman said that a letter from Mr Ramsey had been received and that “a reply will be issued in due course”.
Many families have vented their anger about the issue on social networking sites.
But the cause of the noise has yet to be confirmed.
And it has been suggested that the aircraft involved is flying at such an elevated position that it is not visible from ground level.
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said that it would need a description of the actual aircraft or its registration number, displayed on the side, before it could say for certain what it was. He added: “The chances are if it is up there at night it is military or police — but without clear identification there is not an awful lot we can do.”
The Army and PSNI have neither confirmed nor denied that they caused the noise.
City of Derry Airport has also ruled out its aircraft being responsible, as commercial flights at the Eglinton facility only operate between 7am and 8pm.
There has been some suggestion that the noise may have been caused by a geological survey of the north coast being conducted by Rathlin Energy.
A company spokesman has ruled out its study being to blame.
“Our plane has only been flying in daylight hours and hasn’t flown over the city. It is flying from Limavady to Ballycastle.
“It is flying between 80 and 100 metres and conditions have to be perfect because you are using your vision as well as instruments,” he said.
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Rathlin Energy says its airborne survey is to identify naturally occurring mineral deposits. Its aircraft has two propeller engines and carries equipment to provide gravity and magnetic information on the bedrock and its composition. The aircraft flies in straight parallel lines across the region at an approximate height of 100m — but only during the day.
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