Chinook crashes into Mull
Along with the terrible personal loss, huge damage was done to Britain’s intelligence capability in Northern Ireland on June 2 1994 when a Chinook Helicopter crashed while carrying 25 experts from Aldergrove in Northern Ireland to a conference near Inverness .
The bare facts are that the Chinook, with two Special Forces pilots flying it in dense fog, smashed into a cliff on the Mull of Kintyre at roughly 6pm. According to the vast majority of witnesses visibility at that time was very poor – 100m at best. Yet the machine was flying low, and travelling at 150mph. All 29 people on board were killed in the impact or by the fireball as the helicopter exploded: the 25 passengers were from the RUC, MI5, and the Army.
Controversy has raged ever since about the causes of the crash: an official inquiry found the pilots guilty of gross negligence; a House of Lords inquiry in 2002 rebutted that verdict; and other tribunals have left the question of blame open. Problems with engine management software came to light subsequently, boosting the campaign to clear the pilots’ names by their families, albeit inconclusively.
Arguments about the causes of the crash have deflected public debate and criticism away from the decision to carry so many important personnel on one flight, something many commercial organisations would not have countenanced.
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