Unionist MP raises Chinook crash concerns

The wreckage of the Chinook which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994 killing 29, including 25 top Northern Ireland security experts. PIC: Chris Bacon/PA Wire
The wreckage of the Chinook which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994 killing 29, including 25 top Northern Ireland security experts. PIC: Chris Bacon/PA Wire

UUP MP Tom Elliott has demanded that the MoD reopens its investigation into the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash after the News Letter highlighted claims from a top avionics expert that it was unfit to fly.

The crash rocked Northern Ireland and made headlines around the world when it saw 25 top intelligence officers killed at a key moment in the peace process.

In his new book ‘Their Greatest Disgrace’, ex-MoD avionics expert David Hill says the MoD Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment Boscombe Down reports of September/October 1993 state the Chinook MkII was “not airworthy and is not be relied on in any way”.

He added: “It is the confirmation that staff such as myself had been saying since 1988 was true, and known to be true by senior officers who had rejected our concerns.”

In 2011 the government withdrew claims that the dead pilots had been “negligent to a gross degree”.

Mr Elliott called for a fresh investigation after reading Mr Hill’s comments in Saturday’s News Letter.

The MoD last week declined to comment.

“I was shocked to read in Saturday’s News Letter that David Hill, a former Ministry of Defence avionics expert, alleged that the MoD’s own safety experts were in possession of a report that the Chinooks were unfit to fly, two years before the fatal crash,” he said.

“The Government– and more specifically, the MoD – must re-open the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash of the RAF Chinook on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994.

“Twenty-two-years years after the appalling tragedy, the official cause of the crash is still unknown.

“We owe it to the families of the crew and passengers to make every attempt to get to the truth to try and ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

“I think it is outrageous that none of the experts who compiled the Chinook Airworthiness Review Team (CHART) report were ever called to any of the inquiries into the crash.

“Surely, those would have been the first people that should have been spoken to?

“These are very serious allegations and warrant investigation.”

The MoD did not offer any response to Mr Elliott’s comments.