‘Safety link’ to military crashes

By Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC Scotland The wreckage of RAF Chinook ZD576 Twenty-nine people were killed when the Chinook helicopter crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994 A former engineer has claimed there may be links between two of the worst fatal accidents in modern military history.

Jimmy Jones believes there were safety issues years before the 1994 Chinook crash in Scotland and the loss of a Nimrod in Afghanistan 12 years later.

He is convinced the danger signs lie in official reports of both aircraft, one of which the MoD said has been lost.

His call to the defence secretary to release the paper comes days before a report into the Mull of Kintyre crash.

In September last year, Liam Fox ordered a review into the cause of the 1994 Chinook crash, in which 29 people died.

The two pilots were blamed for gross negligence by RAF air marshals but the findings have been disputed by campaigners ever since.

The review, chaired by Lord Alexander Philip, is due to report shortly.

‘Carbon copy’

Mr Jones, who worked on Nimrod fleet and advises the bereaved families of the 2006 crash, wants Mr Fox to give Lord Philip a 1998 report on the Nimrod’s airworthiness.

He said it should be considered alongside a similar report which casts doubt over the safety of the Chinook fleet two years before that crash.

The MoD said it could not find the Nimrod report.

Mr Jones said the Nimrod airworthiness review in 1998 was “almost a carbon copy” of the 1992 Chinook report.

He said both papers revealed a period of “neglect” during the 1990s culminating in lower staff levels and experience, inadequate training, over flying, failure to investigate faults, out-dated publications and poor communication.

Mr Jones said extracts of the Nimrod report could be found in the 2009 Charles Haddon-Cave QC report – a highly critical paper on the MoD’s safety procedures prior to the 2006 Nimrod crash.

Fourteen crewmen, based at RAF Kinloss in Moray, died when the aircraft – XV230 – blew up after air-to-air refuelling over Afghanistan when leaking fuel made contact with a hot air pipe.

The Chinook Mark 2 helicopter crashed on 2 June 1994 en route from Northern Ireland to Inverness in the worst RAF helicopter accident in peacetime.


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