Four British troops lost as helicopter lands in sea

AIR TRAGEDY; Balkan turmoil: Rapid-reaction soldiers killed 8 Clinton vows to pursue diplomatic initiative 8 French border guard fires on refugee convoy





Four British soldiers from the multi-national Rapid Reaction Force were killed yesterday when their helicopter crashed into the Adriatic off the coast of Croatia. The disaster ended a grim weekend for the international community in Bosnia, where three American officials and a French peace- keeper were killed in a traffic accident on the treacherous Igman road into Sarajevo.

One man survived the crash with only cuts and bruises, and was rescued by a Croat fishing boat, the commanding officer of 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps, Lieutenant-Colonel John Greenhalgh said in Ploce. "He's obviously been incredibly lucky.The aircraft turned upside own. He managed to escape and get to the surface."

Rescue helicopters found only debris, but army divers found the wreckage in 80ft of water. "It has been confirmed there are four bodies in the aircraft, which are being recovered," Col Greenhalgh said. All five men on board were from 3 Regiment and had arrived in Ploce three weeks ago to join the multi-national force, whose job is to protect UN peace-keepers in Bosnia. The Army would not release the names of the victims until their families had been informed.

An investigation is under way to discover why the Lynx, on routine reconnaissance training, ditched in the Adriatic, 5 miles south of Ploce. Officers have confirmed it was not the result of hostile action.

"This is a tragic accident which has saddened the entire brigade," said Brigadier Robin Brims, commander of 24 Air Mobile Brigade. Yesterday's incident - and the deaths on Igman the day before - highlight the dangers posed by the international involvement in Bosnia. Brig Brims was careful to praise the Croatian authorities for their support yesterday, but relations are not always good.

The Rapid Reaction Force must contend with the suspicion and demands of the Bosnian and Croatian governments, which have refused to allow some elements of the force to cross the border and deploy in Bosnia. Sarajevo fears the force's tanks, guns and helicopters may be to used to withdraw the peace-keeping force without Bosnian consent.

Units of French heavy artillery were forced to return to Ploce yesterday after trying to cross the frontier, apparently because a Bosnian Croat militia, like Zagreb and Sarajevo, demanded money for services and a veto over the force's action.

The refusal of Croatia and Bosnia to provide training areas may have contributed to yesterday's accident, UN officers said in Zagreb. The British brigade has been "confined to a swamp". As a result, equipment cannot be tested and pilots cannot be properly trained.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living