By no means could the pilot have seen the flock of birds. Even less avoid them with such heavy cargo. Helicopter operations are always dangerous—especially in the middle of the South Atlantic winter. The crash killed eighteen men.

Just three days before the main landings, 19 May, a helicopter crash had caused the worst SAS loss of life since the Second World War.

But before this catastrophe, and even before the raid on Pebble Island, British special forces had been active on the Islands for close to three weeks. For the landings to be successful the ground force commanders needed to have eyes on the Falklands.

Many questions needed urgent answers: what were the conditions of the beaches’? How many landing crafts could they support simultaneously? What was the best route for the landing crafts? Where exactly was the enemy? His fortifications? His weaponry? His morale?