Two British RAF pilots who were among five people to be killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan have been named as Flight Lieutenants Alan Scott and Geraint “Roly” Roberts.
The air force members died alongside three other unnamed Nato-linked personnel after a Puma Mk 2 aircraft landed at Nato’s Resolute Support mission headquarters in the Afghan capital of Kabul, at around 4:15 pm on Sunday.
A further five people were injured in the incident at the base of the organisation tasked with training and assisting Afghan security forces and institutions.
Flight Lieutenant Scott, from London, was 32, and Flight Lieutenant Roberts, from North Wales, was 44. Both men were members of the Puma helicopter force based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.
The MoD has said that the crash was an “accident”, mirroring the account of an Afghan security guard who said the aircraft had appeared to strike an observational balloon as it landed.
Paying tribute to the RAF staff members, group captain Simon Paterson, station commander at the Benson airbase, said in a statement that the men were “exceptional “ and “two of our most capable and dedicated colleagues and friends”.
"A well-respected pilot, Alan was part of the core team which make up the Puma Force. His experience and level-headed nature made him an ideal pilot to go to Afghanistan on operations.
"His passion and enthusiasm for the job were second to none and he was a large part of the success that the Puma 2 has become.
He went on to praise Flight Lieutenant Roberts, and said it was an "honour" to have flown with him."
"I completed my Puma 2 conversion course with Roly last year and have known him as long as I have been flying Support Helicopters. He was a military man to his core and was the epitome of all that the RAF represents."
Flight Lieutenant Scott's spouse said: "There are no words and no justice."
"Yesterday my wonderful, beloved husband Alan Scott was killed in a helicopter crash in Kabul."
"My heart is broken at the fact that such a vivacious, young and amazing person can be taken so cruelly and suddenly.
"Nothing I can say here - or anywhere else - could ever do justice to the thoroughly excellent man I'm proud to call my husband. Rest in peace, my love."
Flight Lieutenant Roberts served in Bosnia, the Falkland Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan. He left behind a spouse and two children.
Wing Commander Toby Sawbridge, Flight Lieutenant Roberts' commanding office, said the pilot was: “an extremely experienced, loyal and dedicated loadmaster”.
Major General Richard Felton, the commander of Joint Helicopter Command, said the accidents is a reminder of the dangers that service personnel face in military service.
Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, said: “The heartfelt tributes paid to Flight Lieutenant Scott and Flight Lieutenant Roberts demonstrate that they were both highly respected and professional members of the RAF.”
The latest deaths bring the total number of British forces personnel or MoD civilians killed while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001 to 456.
Additional reporting by PA
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