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Iraq: Basra Incident of 6 May 2006

Volume 691: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Adam Ingram) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am announcing today the findings of a board of inquiry (BOI) into the tragic incident in Basra, Iraq, on 6 May 2006 when a Lynx helicopter based at Basra air station crashed, killing all five of its occupants— Wing Commander Coxen, Lieutenant Commander Chapman, Flight Lieutenant Mulvihill, Captain Dobson and Marine Collins. I pay tribute to them, and to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, who continue to face hostile conditions on a daily basis. Our thoughts are with all their families and friends.

I will arrange for copies of the military air accident summary and the main board of inquiry, redacted in accordance with guidance on the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act, to be placed in the Library of the House. Both documents will also be published on the MoD website at

The key conclusion of the BOI is that the Lynx was shot down by a surface-to-air missile (using a man-portable air defence system) fired from the ground.

The next of kin have been informed of the board’s conclusions and have been presented with copies of the relevant documentation.

This information has also been provided to the Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner who is scheduled to hear the inquest into the deaths of these service personnel.

The BOI made seven recommendations. Action has been taken to implement all the board's recommendations, and those arising from the subsequent technical investigation, details of which I am not making public in order to protect the security and operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces.