In February 2002 a House of Lords committee opposed the RAF's verdict and concluded there were no grounds for blaming the pilots.  Both the incident and the first inquiry have been subject to controversy and dispute, primarily as to whether the crash had been caused by pilot error or by a mechanical failure.  The new inquiry took place in the House of Lords from September to November 2001. In doing so, the Government accepted Lord Philip’s confirmation that the Controller Aircraft Release (CAR) was “mandated” upon the RAF. Victims of RAF Chinook crash remembered 25 years on UK News | Published: Jun 2, 2019 The helicopter was on its way from RAF Aldergrove to Inverness when it crashed in thick fog in 1994. There were two other crew. In 1995, an RAF board of inquiry ruled that it was impossible to establish the exact cause of the accident. Among these were accusations that wake turbulence from a top-secret hypersonic US aircraft had been responsible for the crash, while another postulated that it was a deliberate assassination of the intelligence operatives on board in connection with the then on-going Northern Ireland peace process. The tenth witness, a yachtsman who was offshore, reported it as being one mile (1.6 km), though he is regarded as a less reliable witness as he changed his testimony. Saturday 4 June 1994 00:02 ... staff were among those killed in the crash. It was re-delivered to No 7 Squadron as a Chinook HC.2 on 21 April 1994. An immediate suspicion that the helicopter could have been shot down by the IRA with their known SA 7 surface-to-air missile capability had been quickly ruled out by investigators. The clergyman will lead a service of remembrance at the Mull of Kintyre on Sunday. THE GOVERNMENT at first said that the identity of the six Northern Ireland Office civilian security specialists, thought to be MI5 officers, would not be revealed. An investigation is under way to find out why the aircraft - described by RAF officials as "state of the art" - came down during a routine flight from Belfast to Inverness, killing 29 people. When the crew released the computer from its fix on the Mull, the pilots knew how close to the Mull they were and, given the deteriorating weather and the strict visibility requirements under visual flight rules they should by that time already have chosen an alternative course. , Boeing CH-47C Chinook, construction number B-868, RAF serial number ZD576 was originally delivered to the Royal Air Force as a Chinook HC.1 on 22 December 1984. The MoD has said that records closed in 1995 and 1996 will be reviewed for release or disposal this year and a decision will be made in due course. There were two other crew. A quarter of a century on the reasons for the crash remain unclear. Three separate inquiries will be held, and questions are expected to be asked as to why so many senior staff were flying in the same aircraft. If witness accounts of visibility are correct, the pilots should have transferred to Instrument Flight Rules, which would require the pilots to slow the aircraft and climb to a safe altitude at the best climbing speed. The helicopter was on its way from RAF Aldergrove near Belfast, to Inverness on 2 June, 1994 when it crashed into a remote hillside.  In doing so, the Government accepted Lord Philip's confirmation that the Controller Aircraft Release (CAR) was "mandated" upon the RAF. Guidelines. In December 2012, the Minister for the Armed Forces, Andrew Robathan, confirmed such a false declaration did not constitute “wrongdoing”, despite it leading directly to deaths of servicemen. Among the passengers were almost all the United Kingdom's senior Northern Ireland intelligence experts. Fire broke out immediately.  On 8 December 2008, Secretary of State for Defence John Hutton announced that "no new evidence" had been presented and the verdicts of gross negligence against the flight crew would stand. A Parliamentary inquiry conducted in 2001 found the previous verdict of gross negligence on the part of the crew to be ‘unjustified’. Boeing CH-47C Chinook, construction number B-868, RAF serial number ZD576 was originally delivered to the Royal Air Force as a Chinook HC.1 on 22 December 1984. This ruling was subsequently overturned by two senior reviewing officers who said the pilots were guilty of gross negligence for flying too fast and too low in thick fog. “There is no evidence of any significant change of course and none of the decision, if any, that the crew made. Among the speakers were Rev Pauline Nixon, whose husband Neville Nixon died in the Sumburgh disaster. “The initial point of impact was 810 feet [250 m] above mean sea level and about 500 metres east of the lighthouse, but the bulk of the aircraft remained airborne for a further 187 metres horizontally north and 90 feet [27 m] vertically before coming to rest in pieces. Fire broke out immediately.  In doing so, the Government accepted Lord Philip's confirmation that the Controller Aircraft Release (CAR) was "mandated" upon the RAF. Statistical breakdown of deaths in the Troubles of Northern Ireland 1969 – 2001, Irish National Liberation Army ( I.N.L.A ), Irish Republican Army. The four crew members who died were from the Special Forces. In his book, Steuart Campbell suggested that two errors by the pilots; failure to climb to a safe altitude upon entering cloud, and a navigational error made in the poor visibility (mistaking a fog signal station for a lighthouse), together caused the crash. A fatal accident inquiry in 1996 and a Commons defence committee report in 1998 left open the question of what caused the accident. To accept the verdict against the pilots is to accept that it is reasonable to blame the operators if the cause of a disaster is not known. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. The Board of Inquiry had identified that several factors may have sufficiently distracted the crew from turning away from the Mull, and upon entering cloud, failed to carry out the correct procedure for an emergency climb in a timely manner. This ruling was subsequently overturned by two senior reviewing officers, who stated the pilots were guilty of gross negligence for flying too fast and too low in thick fog. Two air marshals, on review of the evidence, found the two pilots guilty of gross negligence by flying too fast and too low in thick fog. US election 2020: What is the electoral college? Among the dead were four RAF crew and 25 of Britain’s senior counterinsurgency personnel. On 17 May 1994 emergency power warning lights flashed multiple times and the No.1 engine was again replaced. A subsequent Fatal Accident Inquiry (1996), House of Commons Defence Select Committee report (2000) and Commons Public Accounts Committee report have all either left open the question of blame or challenged the original conclusion. Around 18:00, Chinook ZD576 flew into a hillside in dense fog. 1994: MI5 officers killed in helicopter crash An RAF Chinook helicopter carrying more than 20 of Britain's top intelligence experts has crashed on the Mull of Kintyre, killing everyone on board. Thirty-eight people were killed in that attack, eight of them Afghan military personnel. As they had not done so, they could, and, under the rules, should have either turned away from the Mull immediately or slowed down and climbed to a safe altitude.”. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? try again, the name must be unique, Please Mrs Phoenix is concerned that the remaining documents could be destroyed when potentially life-saving lessons could yet be learned. She had left her husband at RAF Aldergrove earlier in the day and heard a report of the crash on her car radio. continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. The victims of Chinook crash are brought home. 'active' : ''"> Independent Premium. The mission was safely accomplished and they returned to Aldergrove at 15:20. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? will be published daily in dedicated articles.  The height of the crash site of ZD576 was 810 feet (250 m), 1,600 feet (490 m) below the minimum safe level. To accept the verdict against the pilots is to accept that it is reasonable to blame the operators if the cause of a disaster is not known. On 13 July 2011, Defence Secretary Liam Fox outlined to MPs the findings of an independent review into the 1994 crash, which found that the two pilots who were blamed for the crash had been cleared of gross negligence. The wreckage of the Chinook (Chris Bacon/PA) The Chinook pilots, flight lieutenants Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook, were accused of gross negligence over the crash. , In December 2007, Defence Secretary Des Browne agreed to conduct a fresh report into the crash. To accept the verdict against the pilots is to accept that it is reasonable to blame the operators if the cause of a disaster is not known.”. Issued in November 1993, the CAR stated that the entire navigation and communications systems used on the Chinook HC2 were not to be relied upon in any way by the aircrew, and therefore it had no legitimate clearance to fly. The 2011 Parliamentary report found the reviewing officers to have failed to correctly adhere to the standard of proof of "absolutely no doubt" in deciding the question of negligence. to your comment. The RAF had begun to fit these recording devices across the Chinook HC.2 fleet in 1994, prior to the accident; this process was completed in 2002.. Arnab Goswami: Republic TV founder arrested in suicide case, A68 iceberg on collision path with South Georgia, Vienna shooting: Arrests after 'freed jihadist' kills four, gross negligence on the part of the two pilots. In pictures: Trump and Biden through the years, Rescuers rush to save beached pilot whales. As the investigation gets under way some RAF officers admitted the crash could have been caused by many things - pilot error, instrument failure, mechanical collapse, or even "birdstrike". The Ministry of Defence was given a £3 million settlement from Textron, the manufacturers of the system, after a ground-test of the FADEC systems on a Chinook in 1989 resulted in severe airframe damage. The 1994 Scotland RAF Chinook crash occurred on 2 June 1994 at about 18:00 hours when a Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook helicopter (serial number ZD576, callsign F4J40) crashed on the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland, killing all twenty-five passengers and four crew on board.Among the passengers were … Information provided from Boeing to the investigation led to the following conclusion regarding FADEC performance: “Data from the Digital Electronics Unit (DECU) of the second engine showed no evidence of torque or temperature exceedance and the matched power conditions of the engines post-impact indicate that there was no sustained emergency power demand. , In his book, Steuart Campbell suggested that two errors by the pilots; failure to climb to a safe altitude upon entering cloud, and a navigational error made in the poor visibility (mistaking a fog signal station for a lighthouse), together caused the crash. Mr McNidder also spoke of the need to retain the documents held by the MoD. , If witness accounts of visibility are correct, the pilots should have transferred to Instrument Flight Rules, which would require the pilots to slow the aircraft and climb to a safe altitude at the best climbing speed. In June 1994, the MoD test pilots at Boscombe Down had refused to fly the Chinook HC.2 until the engines, engine control systems and FADEC software had undergone revision. Video, Rescuers rush to save beached pilot whales, Bushfire koalas going back to the wild. On 10 May 1994, a post-flight fault inspection revealed a dislocated mounting bracket causing the collective lever to have restricted and restrictive movement. A quarter of a century on, the incident continues to raise controversy.