UK forced to destroy second Chinook following Afghan mishap

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The UK Royal Air Force has lost its second Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter in Afghanistan in as many weeks, with the aircraft having been deliberately destroyed by coalition forces following a landing incident on 30 August.

All four crew members and 15 troops aboard the Chinook escaped without injury when the helicopter made a suspected hard landing, the UK Ministry of Defence says. The transport "sustained damage to its undercarriage, nose and front rotor" in the accident, which happened near Sangin in Afghanistan's Helmand province at around 05:30 local time.

"Despite all options being investigated, due to the location and the environment, the decision was taken that the aircraft could not safely be recovered," the MoD says. The aircraft was destroyed later the same day using explosives.

 
© Sgt Dan Harmer/Ministry of Defence

Another Chinook was destroyed in a coalition airstrike on 19 August after its crew made an emergency landing after coming under heavy fire by Taliban militants. The loss was the first involving an RAF Chinook since the type was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in early 2006.

The mishaps have added to existing pressure on the UK's deployed support helicopter force, and placed increased importance on work to prepare eight stored Chinook HC3s for frontline duty from later this year.

The MoD has launched an investigation into the cause of the latest incident, but confirms that "there is no evidence to suggest that it was caused by enemy action".