Source AP ©

Military helicopter crash to be probed into anew

There may be hold a new inquiry into a notorious military helicopter crash.

A Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter crashed in thick fog in 1994 as it carried senior intelligence experts from a base in Northern Ireland to a security conference in Scotland.

In 1995, a government inquiry blamed pilot error for the crash but relatives of the deceased, a judge and lawmakers have long queried the decision, insisting equipment failure caused the accident.

Pilots Jonathan Tapper, 28, and Richard Cook, 30, died along with two other crew members and their 25 passengers when the helicopter crashed onto the Mull of Kintyre, a peninsula that juts off the western coast of Scotland.

The dead included 10 Northern Ireland police officers from the anti-terrorist Special Branch, nine British army officers and six officials of the government's Northern Ireland Office.

Defense secretary Des Browne said Thursday he would meet House of Lords peer Martin O'Neill next month to discuss whether to call a new inquiry into the crash.

"We now have, we think, a number of points relating to the air-worthiness of the helicopter which we think haven't been considered," O'Neill said.

A 1995 RAF Board of Inquiry report blamed gross negligence by the pilots, but a year later a hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court, in Scotland, ruled it was not possible to know what had caused the crash.

Relatives of the deceased believe problems with the helicopter's engine software may have been the cause.

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