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Coroner attacks 'systemic failures' that led to the death of 10 servicemen

A coroner has condemned 'serious systematic failures' in the RAF

Photo: istock

23 October 2008

Yesterday Coroner David Masters ruled that a “serious systemic failure” meant that an RAF Hercules plane shot down in Iraq was not fitted with safety equipment which might have saved those on board.

The aircraft was flying a Special Forces mission from Baghdad in January 2005 when its right wing was struck by enemy fire. A fuel tank exploded and the plane crashed into farmland. Nine RAF men and one soldier died in the incident, however the inquest heard that they may have survived if the aircraft had been fitted with fire-retardant foam.

Delivering his verdict, the coroner demanded that all RAF combat aircrafts be fitted with safety systems to minimise the risk of this kind of explosion.

The Coroner also said that a second “systemic failure” meant an intelligence report from the Americans about an ambush of two helicopters did not reach the aircraft – with the result that it flew into the same trap hours later.

Sapna Malik, partner at Leigh Day & Co comments on the verdict as follows: “this verdict is the latest in a series of inquests where the MoD has been heavily criticised for failures towards its troops. The inquest raised issues of failings in the provision of equipment to troops. An issue which has been raised in previous inquests, including the inquest into the death of Corporal Stephen Allbutt in March 2003 as a result of friendly fire.”

For more information, please contact Sapna Malik on 0207 650 1222

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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