14 Britons killed in Nimrod Crash Afghanistan
02 Sep 2006


The plane was a Nimrod MR2.
Fourteen British service personnel have died after their aircraft crashed in Afghanistan, the MoD has said.
Twelve RAF personnel, a Royal Marine and an Army soldier were on board the RAF Nimrod MR2 which came down in the southern province of Kandahar.
The reconnaissance jet belonged to the Nato-led force battling the Taleban. The Taleban claim to have downed the aircraft with a shoulder-launched Stinger missile. The Taleban are suspected to have remaining stocks of those missiles that were provided to the Mujahideen by the CIA during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They proved quite effective against Soviet era fighters and helicopters.
However ModUK officials said the crash appeared to be an accident. Tony Blair said it would "distress the whole country" but the mission in Afghanistan was "vital".
The prime minister said: "Our thoughts go out immediately to the families of those who have died.
"British forces are engaged in a vital mission in Afghanistan and this terrible event starkly reminds us of the risk that they face daily."

UK Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "This is dreadful and shocking news. I know that the people of Britain will join me in sending our deep condolences to the loved ones of those who have lost their lives.
"At this stage all the indications are that this was a terrible accident and not the result of hostile action."

'Technical fault'
Nato forces say the plane was supporting the Nato mission in the area.
The pilot is believed to have radioed ground staff about a technical fault shortly before the aircraft came down. The aircraft is known to carry a range of pyrotechnics and munitions related to self-defence and maritime operations....including decoy flares fired from tubes at the rear, designed to deter infra-red shoulder-fired missiles.

The MR2 crews are usually based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland but the MoD has not confirmed where the crashed aircraft was from. The last RAF Nimrod crash took place 11 years ago to the day when seven crew from Kinloss died at an air show near Toronto, Canada. The incident was blamed on pilot error. The crash brings the death toll of UK forces personnel in Afghanistan to 36 since the start of operations in November 2001.

Crash implications probed [MPs and experts respond]
The defence analyst, Major Charles Heyman, told BBC News 24: "It's a black day. It's a disaster for our soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan. "No other words can describe it. It's a big hit to morale. Believe me it really does affect morale."


31 August 2006 - Dutch F-16 fighter pilot dies in crash in south of country
27 July 2006 - 16 people of multiple nationalities die in helicopter crash in south east
6 May 2006 - 10 US soldiers die in helicopter crash in Kunar province
24 April 2006 - Five die when US anti-drugs plane crashes in southern Afghanistan
11 November 2005 - Civilian cargo jet from Bagram crashes killing eight
25 September 2005 - Five US soldiers die in Chinook crash in Zabul province
16 August 2005 - 17 Spanish soldiers die when a Cougar helicopter crashes near Herat
28 June 2005 - 16 US soldiers die in Chinook crash in Kunar province
6 April 2005 - 15 US soldiers and three civilian contractors die in helicopter crash in Ghazni province
January 2005 - Ten British armed personnel were killed when a Hercules C130K was shot down north-west of Baghdad.

Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Brigadier Ed Butler, said recent loss of life has caused "profound personal devastation for families, friends and colleagues".
But he paid tribute to the "quite remarkable" resilience and morale of British service personnel.
"I am personally humbled by their courage and commitment in getting on with the tough job in hand; delivering over and above, and making a difference to the ordinary people of Afghanistan," he said.
BBC defence correspondent, Paul Wood, told BBC News 24, said the plane could have been supporting an operation in a place called Panjwayi - west of Kandahar.
"It's a town - which has been in Taleban hands - which has been forced back into coalition hands by a big push, still continuing today."
Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the accident, has sent his condolences to the friends and families of those killed.
"Today's tragic loss is a reminder of the extraordinarily difficult conditions in which our armed forces are operating in Afghanistan," he said.

A special helpline is available on 08457 800 900 for families concerned about relatives.
Afghanistan is experiencing its bloodiest period since the fall of the Taleban in 2001, with much of the fighting concentrated in the south.
The crash comes as Afghan and Nato troops began a major anti-Taleban drive in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar which has seen months of fighting.

The plane came down about 20 km (12 miles) west of the city of Kandahar, Maj Scott Lundy of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said.
There was no indication of an enemy attack on the plane, which was not a fighter jet.
It was "supporting" a Nato ISAF Force mission with communications intercepts. It disappeared from radar and crashed in an open area 12 mls West of Kandahar", he said.
The crash is thought to be the biggest single loss of British troops in Iraq or Afghanistan since military operations began there in 2001.