Friday, May 23, 2008

RAF Nimrod "not airworthy" inquest finds

The fourteen airmen who died in the Nimrod explosion

A coroner at the inquest into the deaths of 14 military personnel killed when their aircraft exploded has declared the Nimrod aeroplane was “not airworthy”. But the findings have been dismissed by Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth. The MoD and RAF have also disputed the finding by Andrew Walker that the aircraft had “never been airworthy”. The explosion resulted in the worst single loss of military personnel in Afghanistan. The men killed were Flt Sgt Adrian Davies; Flt Lt Leigh Mitchelmore; Flt Lt Gareth Nicholas; Sgt Benjamin Knight; Sgt Gary Quilliam, Flt Lt Steven Swarbrick, Sgt John Langton Bottom L-R: Flt Sgt Stephen Beattie; Flt Lt Allan Squires; Flt Sgt Gary Andrews; Flt Sgt Gerard Bell; Flight Lt Steven Johnson, Marine Joseph Windall, and L Cpl Oliver Dicketts. The incident occurred in September 2006 at a time when only 36 had died in the conflict. The then defence minister Des Brown said it had been a “dreadful and shocking accident” while Prime Minister Tony Blair said at the time, the “accident” would “distress the whole country” [tvnewswatch]. But the findings of the inquest has added further distress to the families of the airmen who have called for the Nimrod fleet to be taken out of service [BBC / Sky News].

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