Pilots Exonerated In The Official Military Report
Defence Secretary Dr. Liam Fox has published the conclusions of
an independent review into a Chinook Mk2 helicopter crash of June
1994 on the Mull of Kintyre which tragically resulted in the deaths
of all 29 people on board. The review, led by Lord Philip and
assisted by three Privy Counsellors, examined the evidence relating
to the findings of the Board of Inquiry into the accident.
The review makes three key recommendations:
- The finding that the pilots were negligent to a gross degree
should be set aside.
- The MOD should consider offering an apology to the families of
- The MOD should reconsider its policy and procedures for the
transport of personnel whose responsibilities are vital to national
At the request of the Defence Secretary, the Defence Council was
convened and has set aside the findings that the pilots were
negligent to a gross degree and has ordered that this action be
noted on the pilots' records.
On behalf of the MOD, the Defence Secretary has also apologised
to the families of the pilots.
"I set up this review in the face of continued criticism of the
official conclusion that the accident was caused by negligence to a
gross degree and my own fear that an injustice had been done," said
Dr. Fox in releasing the report Thursday. "The review concludes
that this finding should be set aside. I hope that this will bring
some comfort to the families of the pilots and I would like to
apologise on behalf of the MOD for the sorrow which was caused to
them by this finding. I pay tribute to the 29 people who died in
the accident. Their deaths were a huge blow to the country and a
tragedy for their families.
"I am grateful to Lord Philip and his fellow Privy Counsellors
for their thorough and painstaking work which has resulted in clear
and unanimous recommendations. I hope that the conclusion of this
review and the action I have taken in response to it will bring an
end to this chapter by removing this stain on the reputations of
the two pilots."
The review does not lay blame as to the cause of the accident
and does not give support to any suggestions of technical failure.
It concludes the cause of the accident is likely never to be known.
Since the accident the Chinook aircraft has had an excellent safety
record and continues to be a mainstay of operations, having the
full confidence of those who fly it.
The Defence Secretary also stated that he would personally
satisfy himself that the three Services had properly considered
their policy and procedures for transporting personnel who are
vital to national security.
"Last September I was asked, along with my fellow Privy Councillors
Lord Forsyth, Baroness Liddell and Malcolm Bruce MP, to conduct an
independent review of the findings of the Board of Inquiry into the
RAF helicopter ZD576 accident on the Mull of Kintyre," said Lord
Phillip. "Because of the limited amount of evidence available, the
investigating Board of Inquiry were unable to determine the cause
of the accident, and so concluded that it was impossible to find
that the pilots had been negligent to any degree. The Reviewing
Officers, on the other hand, concluded on the same evidence that
both pilots had been negligent to a gross degree.
"We have recommended to the Secretary of State that the finding
that the pilots were negligent to a gross degree should be set
aside. We have also recommended that the Ministry of Defence should
reconsider its policy and procedures for the transport of personnel
whose responsibilities are vital to national security."