3:40pm Monday 28th April 2014
By Jessica Bave
THE helicopter that was involved in a crash that killed four RAF Odiham based servicemen has an exceptional safety record according to a leading defence analyst.
As reported on the Gazette website, Captain Thomas Clarke, Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner, and Corporal James Walters from the Army Air Corps and Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan from the Royal Air Force, who were all based at RAF Odiham, died in a helicopter crash in the Kandahar province in South Afghanistan on Saturday.
Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas from the Intelligence Corps, who was based in London, was also killed after their Westland Lynx Mk 9 helicopter crashed.
But Paul Beaver, who in the past has worked with the Government’s defence committee, told the BBC yesterday that the Westland Lynx MK9A helicopter which crashed on Saturday was popular and had a good safety history.
He said: “The Westland Lynx has been in service with the British Armed Forces for about 40 years with the Royal Navy and the Army Air Corps. It is an immensely popular helicopter but it is coming to the end of its operational life in the next three of four years. It is popular and for a helicopter, it has a very good safety record.”
In a statement released last night, Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond added: “This incident is now the subject of a thorough investigation to find out exactly what happened.
“Lynx MK9A helicopters have a good operational safety record and commanders have judged that it is safe for the fleet to continue to operate while the investigation is carried out.”
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