Wed, Dec 05, 2007
Accident Over Afghanistan Claimed 14
British Defense Secretary Des Browne told parliament Tuesday the
mid-air explosion of a 38-year-old Nimrod MR2 over Afghanistan in
September 2006 was most likely caused by a fuel leak.
Browne's comments followed the release of a report from an
"The fire was likely the result of some escaped fuel that
ignited," Browne said, adding "we are unable to identify with
absolute certainty the cause."
As ANN reported, all 14
servicemen aboard died when the aircraft exploded inflight. The
aircraft had conducted air-to-air refueling shortly before fires
were reported; witnesses say they saw a small fire near the back of
the Nimrod, before the conflagration enveloped the aircraft.
Browne told lawmakers the age of some parts may have contributed
to the incident, that the Ministry of Defence has taken action to
prevent a similar accident. He added the RAF's remaining Nimrods
will keep flying, despite evidence of fuel leaks throughout
the aging fleet.
Bloomberg reports the conclusion may increase pressure on Prime
Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government to address some have
called an inadequate defense budget to support conflicts in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Conservative party's Shadow Defence Minister, Gerald
Howarth, charged after 40 fire-related incidents a year for the
past 20 years, and 52 leaks in a six-month period last year, the
manufacturer and the RAF were "acutely aware of the potential
hazards arising from the Nimrod's aging systems."
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