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Volume 598: debated on Tuesday 14 July 2015

I wish to inform the House of the findings of the service inquiry into the accident involving an Army Lynx helicopter (Mark 9A variant) on 26 April 2014, in which Captain Thomas Clarke, Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan, Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner, Corporal James Walters and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas tragically died. On the day of the accident, the aircraft was conducting a training sortie when it crashed approximately 20 km south of Kandahar Airfield in the Chaghray Ghar Valley, Afghanistan.

A service inquiry was convened by the director general of the Military Aviation Authority (now the director general of the Defence Safety Authority as of 1 April 2015) to establish the cause and examine those factors which contributed to the accident, and in order to make recommendations to prevent a recurrence and enhance air safety. The service inquiry panel has conducted an independent, thorough and objective inquiry and their report is now complete. Copies have already been provided to the next of kin, HM Coroner for Oxfordshire and relevant personnel and units in Defence to ensure the timely dissemination of the air safety lessons contained within it.

A copy of the service inquiry report, redacted in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, is also being placed in the Library of the House today and on the website. Our deepest sympathies remain with the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident.