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Coroner Makes Safety Recommendations As Inquest Into Afghanistan Helicopter Crash Concludes

Devastated Family Seeking Answers Regarding What Happened To Lynx Helicopter


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The coroner conducting an Inquest into the deaths of five service personnel who lost their lives following the crash of a Lynx helicopter in southern Afghanistan in April 2014 has made several recommendations after hearing evidence about what may have caused the accident.

Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Spencer Faulkner was a 38-year-old who had been deployed to Afghanistan on numerous occasions, often at short notice, in support of UK armed forces. He was stationed at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.

His widow Cally, with whom he has two young children, has instructed expert military injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to represent the family as they seek to find out exactly what happened to cause the crash. 

Coroner Mr Darren Salter today delivered a narrative conclusion at Oxford Coroners Court and recommended the MoD reviews manning levels and the impact this has on strain for service personnel. He also said that flight data recorders should be put into newer aircraft.

The Inquest had previously heard evidence relating to whether or not a safety alarm had sounded when the helicopter descended, concerns regarding manning levels in the squadron and that a training directive was not in place at the time of the accident.

Andrew Buckham, a specialist military injuries lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Mr Faulkner’s widow Cally, said:

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“The family was left devastated at Spencer’s death and hoped that the inquest would provide further answers as to how this incident happened.

“The Inquest has heard issues regarding risk management and training as well as concerns about the levels of service personnel available to this Squadron that was very heavily committed to operations and military exercises.

“We now hope the recommendations made by the coroner will be taken forward by the MoD to improve the safety for armed forces personnel.”
Andrew Buckham, Partner

The inquest also heard that Faulkner had completed a number of tours in Afghanistan. He was on his final tour at the time of his death and had hoped to retire before his 40th birthday.

Spencer’s widow Cally said: "We just wanted answers about what happened and what went wrong to cause the crash. It has been very difficult hearing evidence, but we are thankful to the coroner for investigating the events of that tragic day.

“Nothing can ever bring Spencer back to us but we hope that lessons will be learned from this incident to reduce the risk of similar accidents in future.

“Throughout this Inquest I and the other families have heard all the witnesses speak about the true professionalism of each of the men killed in this incident. Spencer was always committed to doing his very best for the Armed Forces, but he was also a family man who was loved by everyone.”

It is understood that the crash was the first fatal accident of the conflict in Afghanistan involving a UK military helicopter.

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