January 17

The Jan. 9 news article “2 dead, 1 missing in Navy helicopter crash” also described a U.S. Air Force helicopter that “crashed in an uninhabited area” along England’s North Sea coast a day earlier. That description was very misleading.

The aircraft crashed in a major coastal wildlife reserve about a quarter-mile from a village. The reserve is similar to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and other reserves on the Chesapeake Bay, and it hosts large numbers of migratory birds, ducks, waders and more, especially at this time of year. The military has been conducting very low-level training runs over the area (often about 10 or 20 feet above the ground), usually at night. It is as if this had been happening over a reserve on the edge of St. Michaels or Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Fifteen years ago there was apparently an agreement that flying in this area would be at higher elevations, but locals say it has not been adhered to. The director of the wildlife trust running the reserve and council leaders both told a local newspaper that they had lobbied the Defence Ministry about this. “It has been quite upsetting for visitors and residents to be staring down the barrel of an Apache helicopter gun,” Brendan Joyce, chief executive of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, told the Guardian.

It is difficult to understand why this training can’t be carried out in the United States, where population densities are much lower. That would also avoid annoying people in allied countries.

John English, Bethesda