Inquest to Begin into 14 Deaths Following Afghan Nimrod Crash

Nimrod crash in Afghanistan

07.05.2008

The inquest into the deaths of 14 service personnel, who were killed when the Nimrod aircraft in which they were travelling whilst on operational duties crashed in Afghanistan on September 2, 2006, will begin on Tuesday May 6, 2008 at the Oxford Coroners Court.

The inquest is scheduled to last 3 weeks and will hear evidence from 38 experts and witnesses to try and establish the causes of the crash which was the largest single loss of life among British forces since the Falklands war.

The 37-year-old reconnaissance aircraft was engulfed in a ball of flame minutes after it was refuelled in mid-air near Kandahar on September 2 2006. Everyone on board was killed.

The hearing will be presided over by Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker.

Ageing components and a lack of modern fire suppressants were among "contributory factors" which led to the deaths, an RAF Board of Inquiry found.

The accident was the heaviest loss of life among British forces in a single incident since the Falklands War.

The BoI found that the most probable cause of the crash was fuel escaping during the refuelling, which ignited when it came into contact with a hot air pipe.

The crew had no means of putting out the fire and were in an emergency descent to the Kandahar airbase when the aircraft exploded, six minutes after the blaze broke out.

Andrew Tucker from Irwin Mitchell, the law firm representing all the families at the inquest, said: "The families are assured that the coroner will hear all the evidence pertinent to this case and will have all the facts in front of him to enable him to reach a verdict to establish why 14 service personnel died in such tragic circumstances."

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