27/05/2010

Chinook Pilots 'Negligence' To Be Reviewed

There's to be another investigation into the now infamous crash of a Chinook helicopter near Inverness.

Confusion and distress has been continuing for the relatives of the two RAF pilots variously cleared and then found guilty of 'gross negligence' after multiple fatalities in the crash on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994.

It has seen growing demands for a fresh review that could posthumously clear the pilots.

The helicopter was carrying the elite of Northern Ireland's security personnel - and hit a hillside while flying from RAF Aldergrove, near Belfast, to Fort George,

The personnel aboard were on their way to attend a high-level security conference on terrorist intentions during a then ongoing deadly terror campaign.

It was the one single event that caused the heaviest loss among Northern Ireland's intelligence community in that it killed the four Special Forces crew and 25 senior members of Northern Ireland's anti-terror command - military and RUC officers included.

An RAF inquiry accused Flt Lts Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook of 'gross negligence'.

But, this was at odds with the first investigation, after the helicopter crash happened, in thick fog en route from Northern Ireland to Inverness, when pilots Tapper and Cook were cleared of blame.

That decision was then overturned after the formal fatal accident inquiry by two senior RAF officers, who both claimed the pilots had been flying too fast and too low in the thick fog.
News Image
Now, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is considering reviewing the findings from a 1994 RAF Chinook crash which blamed the two pilots for gross negligence, the Defence Secretary has revealed.

In response to Lib Dem Sir Menzies Campbell urging a review, Liam Fox said the MoD was "already looking" at ways to conduct "an independent review".

He said the Government would fulfil its promise made in opposition to review the case.

Flt Lt Jonathan Tapper, 30, was from Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, and Flt Lt Richard Cook, 28, from Church Crookham, Hampshire, and both were initially cleared of blame by an RAF board of inquiry and three subsequent inquiries have found the cause of the crash on the western coast of Scotland was inconclusive.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox, a Conservative, said: "In opposition we said there would be an independent review of the evidence and I can confirm that the Ministry of Defence is already looking at the best way to undertake that.

"We will certainly live up to the promise we made in opposition."

The father of Flt Lt Tapper said he hoped his son would now be cleared of blame.

See: Chinook Pilots Verdict To Stand

See: Chinook Crash Case To Be Re-examined

See: RAF pilots cleared of blame for Chinook 1994 Mull of Kintyre crash

(BMcC/GK)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 June 2019
Tyrone Player Handed Two-Match Ban
A GAA player from County Tyrone is set to miss two matches following a controversial incident against Donegal at the weekend. Donegal defeated Tyrone in Sunday's Ulster SFC semi-final, yet the talking point surrounded an altercation between Tyrone's Tiernan McCann and Donegal's Stephen McMenamin.
07 July 2017
Woman Dies In Co Down Road Crash
A woman has died in a three vehicle crash in Co Down. The crash happened on the Belfast Road in Saintfield just before 6pm on Thursday, 06 July. A man is in a stable condition in hospital. Police are appealing for witnesses to contact them.
05 February 2002
RAF pilots cleared of blame for Chinook 1994 Mull of Kintyre crash
Two RAF pilots have been effectively cleared of causing the 1994 Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre in which 29 people died. A House of Lords select committee concluded on Tuesday February 5 there was no justification for finding fault with the two pilots.
09 December 2008
Chinook Pilots Verdict To Stand
There's bad news today for relatives of two RAF pilots, as an earlier verdict of 'gross negligence' on the two dead servicemen looks set to remain in place.
22 July 2002
MoD refuse to exonerate Chinook crash pilots
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has declined to accept a report by a House of Lords select committee into the 1994 Chinook crash on the Mull of Kintyre. Despite a finding by peers that there was no justification for the pilots to be blamed for the crash, the MoD said it "did not accept" the conclusion of the Lords select committee.