Iraq plane crash kills British troops

2005-01-31 08:44:47
Monday 09:03:16
January 31 2005

Iraq plane crash kills British troops

An undated file photo of a Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules transport plane. A British Hercules transport plane crashed northwest of Baghdad officials in Baghdad and London said on January 30, 2005. Britain's Ministry of Defense confirmed the crash but said it had no details on the cause or location. There was no immediate word on casualties. Photo by Reuters (Handout)

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As many as 15 British military personnel have died after the transport plane they were travelling in crashed in central Iraq, military sources say.

The Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules went down northwest of Baghdad at 4.40pm (1340 GMT) on Sunday, according to the coalition military press office in Baghdad.

Military sources told Britain's domestic Press Association news
agency the number killed in the crash was "around 10", with it
"highly unlikely" to be more than 15.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

In a televised speech on Sunday, British- Prime Minister Tony Blair said "people lost their lives" in the crash, but not specifying how many had perished or providing any other details.- 

"This country and the wider world will never forget them," Blair said.

The C-130 Hercules transport plane involved in the crash can carry up to 92 troops, 64 paratroopers or military equipment.- 

No information has been released about the cause of the
crash, but US officials said helicopters had spotted the
wreckage, which was strewn over a wide area.- 

LONDON - Up to 15 British troops were killed on Sunday when a transport plane crashed near Baghdad in what could be Britain's biggest single loss of life of the Iraq campaign, a British military source said.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said a number of Britons died when the C-130 Hercules transport plane crashed. He gave no figure but the source said about 10 were dead and it could rise to 15.

"We are investigating and our thoughts are with the families of those who were on board the plane," the source said.

There was no comment on the cause of the crash or whether the plane had been shot down. U.S. officials said helicopters had spotted wreckage strewn over a wide area.

"Yet again today we see the sacrifice they make," Blair said in a statement on Sunday's Iraqi election.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives earlier today. They can be so proud of what their loved ones accomplished. This country and the wider world will never forget them."

The plane crashed at around 5:25 p.m. (0925 EST) some 20 miles northwest of Baghdad, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. It was on its way from Baghdad to Balad, a major U.S. military air transport hub, when it crashed.

It was not clear why there was still doubt about the casualty toll, although darkness would have hampered any search of the wreckage. Military transport flights around Iraq often pick up personnel at short notice if they have space available.

Before Sunday's accident, 29 British troops had been killed in combat in Iraq and 43 more had died in non-combat incidents.

Eight died when a U.S. helicopter crashed in the Kuwaiti desert on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. On two occasions, six British troops have been killed in incidents.

British, U.S. and other foreign troops were helping Iraqi forces provide security for the election. Insurgents had threatened to kill anyone who tried to vote and there were at least nine suicide bomb attacks in Baghdad.

On Wednesday, 31 U.S. troops were killed in a helicopter crash, the deadliest single incident for Americans in Iraq.

Source by Redazione

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