Players on pitch stopped Afghanistan crash helicopter from landing, inquest hears

Reporter:

Suzanne Kendrick

THE inquest into the deaths of two British air force members killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan is being held today (Monday).

Flight Lieutenant Geraint "Roly" Roberts – a former pupil at Ysgol Dewi Sant in Rhyl and Ysgol Glan Clwyd, St Asaph – died after a Puma Mk 2 helicopter crashed while landing at Nato's Resolute Support mission headquarters in the Afghan capital Kabul. Flight Lieutenant Scott, aged 32 from London, was also killed in the incident on October 11 2015.

The men were among five people killed. Five others were injured.

Both Lieutenant Roberts and Lieutenant Scott were members of the Puma helicopter force based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. Flight Lieutenant Roberts, 44, was a married dad of two. He had served in Bosnia, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the time, Wing Commander Toby Sawbridge described Lieutenant Roberts as "an extremely experienced, loyal and dedicated loadmaster".

Group Captain Simon Paterson, station commander at RAF Benson, said the men were “two of our most capable and dedicated colleagues and friends”.

He added: “Both were exceptional men who made a massive impact on the Puma Force and, indeed, the station.”

The inquests were being heard at Oxford Coroner's Court.

All five people killed in the crash, which happened at around 4.15pm, were Resolute Support personnel.

The helicopter crash happened hours after a convoy of UK military vehicles was attacked in Kabul in a separate incident.

Three civilians, said to include a woman and a child, were wounded but no-one was killed.

Flight Lieutenant Roberts lost his sister Bethan Waters, aged 35, to breast cancer in April 2013. She was a nurse at Glan Clwyd Hospital for 13 years. 

The Bethan Waters’s Award has since been created at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Email:

suzanne.kendrick@nwn.co.uk

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