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Army loses vital Chinook after landing.

Efforts to increase the helicopter capacity available to British troops in Afghanistan were set back yesterday as a Chinook had to be destroyed after sustaining damage in a "hard landing". The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the incident occurred as 15 soldiers from 2 Rifles Battlegroup were being escorted to the area east of Sangin.

Neither the passengers nor the four crew were injured and the soldiers continued on their operation in another Chinook.

But the damaged helicopter was not able to fly, depleting British resources at a time when the Government is trying to get more helicopters - including Chinooks - to the frontline.

An MoD spokesman said: "Despite all options being investigated, due to the location and the environment, the decision was taken that it could not safely be recovered and so it was subsequently destroyed by military personnel using explosives.

"It's a blow but this is the reality of war. We are considering our options for replacing it, but there will be no immediate loss of operational effectiveness as we draw on the resources of the central ISAF pool."

An investigation into the incident is under way but it is not believed to have been caused by enemy activity.

The MoD declined to say, for operational reasons, how many Chinooks British forces had available to them in Afghanistan.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 31, 2009
Words:219
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