Ten feared dead in RAF plane crash

Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, has confirmed that nine Royal Air Force personnel and one soldier, are missing presumed killed, in the RAF plane crash in Iraq yesterday.

The Ministry of Defence has yet to confirm the cause of the crash of an RAF Hercules, which occurred 30 km northwest of Baghdad. Mr Hoon said that the government was aware of reports that the plane had been shot down. However, he said: "We are not in a position to come to any conclusions until the investigation is complete."

The plane, a C-130, was flying from Baghdad International Airport to an airbase in the town of Balad, when it crashed around 16:35 local time. The C-130 is renowned for its reliability and the weather conditions at the time of the crash were good.

Mr Hoon confirmed that US and UK forces had secured the crash site and were recovering bodies and attempting to establish the cause of the crash.

Mr Hoon extended his "deepest sympathies" to the families of the servicemen and said: "The deaths of these servicemen are especially poignant on a day when Iraqis were able to enjoy the freedom of democratic election for the first time in many years."


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