Chinook crash was accident, officials say

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The Independent Online
OFFICIALS investigating the cause of the Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre, which killed 25 anti-terrorist intelligence officers and four RAF personnel, yesterday confirmed that they had ruled out sabotage.

As investigators from the Department of Transport, the RAF and Strathclyde Police continued to search the crash site, senior officials said tests carried out on the wreckage showed that the aircraft was flying normally when it struck a hill and burst into flames.

The head of one of the inquiry teams said: 'We have to wait for final public confirmation but it is now clear that there was no bomb, no sabotage. This was an accident.

'The debris is concentrated in a very confined area, with the cockpit and front rotor head pushed slightly up the hill after impact. This is simply a case of a helicopter flying at cruising speed into the side of a hill and breaking up.'

Pilot error or the failure of navigational equipment were the most likely causes, he said.

Yesterday the victims and their families were remembered when coastguards, RAF officers and firefighters joined local people for a special prayer service at Southend parish church on Kintyre.

The bodies of all 29 victims were formally identified yesterday and post-mortem examinations carried out. They will be flown home today.