RAF man found dead after airbase alert

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The Independent Online

An RAF sergeant who sparked a major security operation at an airbase after he went on the loose with a high-powered rifle was today found dead.

An RAF sergeant who sparked a major security operation at an airbase after he went on the loose with a high-powered rifle was today found dead.

The body of Flight Sergeant Philip Herring, 40, was discovered in the grounds of RAF Kinloss in Moray this afternoon.

Police said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

A security cordon was thrown around the base at 4am after police received reports that a serviceman in possession of a firearm was on the camp.

Local residents in the village of Kinloss were told to stay indoors and RAF staff were advised not to report for work while specially trained officers assisted by a helicopter launched a search for Flt Sgt Herring.

Armed police were also drafted in to take part in the hunt.

At a press conference at Elgin police station, police confirmed that Mr Herring's body had been spotted by staff manning the helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth, which had been scrambled to help with the search.

Chief Inspector Alan Smith, of Grampian Police, said: "About 4am this morning Grampian Police responded to a call from the RAF reporting that a man was somewhere within the base armed with a rifle.

"Advice was given to the local community to take precautions.

"At 2.26pm the helicopter crew reported sighting a body on the base near one of the buildings.

"At 2.55pm this man was identified as Flight Sergeant Philip Herring.

"We are sorry to announce such a tragic end to today's incident."

Mr Smith refused to reveal how Mr Herring had obtained the firearm or how he died.

He added that Mr Herring had been found in a domestic area of the airbase, fairly close to the airfield.

Mr Herring, who had served in the RAF for 20 years, had been at Kinloss for five years as an air traffic control officer. He was originally from north east England.

Police added that Mr Herring's wife lived locally but was not in the area at the time of the incident.

Station Commander at RAF Kinloss, Group Captain Chris Birks, said personnel at the base were "greatly saddened" by the incident and their thoughts were with Mr Herring's family.

Gp Capt Birks added that a security review would now be taking place at the base.

"The security precautions at Kinloss have served us well for many years but, as with any incident of this nature, we will have a full review," he said.

Around 200 personnel were working at the base this morning when the incident began.

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