Hercules crashes in Maysan. £16 Mn plane torched because of threat from insurgents/terrist/Al Quaeda/ Badr army/Mahdi Army / Toon Army / Barmy Army
BBC Online report that an RAF Hercules C130K landed 20 km north of Al-Amarah (capital of the Maysan province) yesterday evening ( 2010 local time (1710GMT)) and the plane was "significantly damaged" during landing. The plane was subsequently "safely" destroyed by multinational forces because of the "potential risk involved in recovery".
The plane had been carrying passengers on a routine re-supply journey and 2 were injured
"It was concluded that the aircraft could not be recovered without exposing our personnel to undue risk," he said.
Jane Corbin for Panorama reported from Al Amarah in March 2006 (BBCOnline) which she described as -" Al Amarah is the capital of Maysan province, a wild and lawless tribal area on the border with Iran. Rival Shia militias, many of them allied to political parties in Iraq's new democracy, vie for power here with the British holding the ring and often bearing the brunt of casualties."
"The British are increasingly leaving it to the new provincial council and to Iraqi security forces, trained by the coalition, to keep the peace."
Her report on the gradual handover was downbeat and ended ...
There is simply too much at stake to allow British casualties to affect the process of handover as John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence admits....
"Despite all the blemishes we have to deal with the reality as it is in Iraq today and it is a far better reality than it was only a few years ago,""The truth is the British believe they have gone as far as they can in Maysan, a province that even Saddam never tamed and it is "good enough", as one British army officer put it, for troops to start leaving soon. "
In November dour, dumb, Des Browne Minister at the War Office (BBC Online) restated Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett's assertion that British-controlled Maysan province could transfer to Iraqi control in January, followed by Basra shortly afterwards. (Independent)
A C130K crash landed at Lashkar Gar in May last year when a new UK Ambassador Stephen Evans, (now replaced) was on Board ... "The RAF is now facing a major transport problem after losing four Hercules in the past decade - including two highly specialised aircraft used to deliver SAS troops in the past 18 months."
The Daily Torygraph report of 20th May 2006 went on ... "The crash is likely to put further strain on the RAF Hercules transport fleet, operating at maximum capacity for the Government's overseas expeditions." ....oooh .. er
At the end of January this year, on the 1st anniversary of the shootdown of the Hercules XV179 over Iraq in which ten crew members died, The Swindon Advertiser asked the MOD how many Hercules had been retro-fitted with fire-retardant foam into their wings. The MoD wouldn't say but it is believd to be no more than 3 with the 1st arriving in the Middle East in the next few weeks.
Sarah Chapman, the sister of Sgt Bob O'Connor, who died in the crash, talks of a constant battle to find out information.
"It's a tough time for all the families at the moment, especially two years on, but it feels like there is still no progress.Ms Chapman and family members of the crew handed a petition to 10 Downing Street to ask the government to push forward with installing fire-retardant foam into the wings of the Hercules aircraft. - it didn't receive the publicity that road pricing petitions do.
"There has still not been an inquest, although we have been told there will soon be a pre-inquest hearing about it, because of the complexity of the case.
"It sometimes feels like the MoD just wants to sweep it all away."
The BBC Online story is now (2200 GMT) saying ... "The MoD stressed the aircraft had been making "a routine landing on a tactical landing zone" and the plane had not been shot down.
For those arriving from http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=67709 the commentator is spot on about the pic source.... it was not stated to be the Herc. that was torched. Purely decorative.