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Ross Kemp visit 'factor' in focus of crew in helicopter crash

A visit from Ross Kemp was a "contributory factor" to the focus of a British crew of an Apache that crashed almost eight years ago in Afghanistan, according to a report.

The former EastEnders actor was one of a number of visitors to the helicopter on September 4 2008, the report says.

The Ministry of Defence board of inquiry found that a major cause of the accident was "disorientation" experienced by the pilot when "he entered a dust cloud during a transition".

It added: "In summary, it is clear to the Board that this accident was caused by the disorientation of the HP when conducting a poorly executed transition downwind, with inadequate aircraft performance and engulfed in heavy recirculation.

"The Board believes that the crew lacked sufficient experience for the complex, high end, unsupervised operation, had become fatigued and were distracted at a critical juncture."

However, referring to Kemp's visit, it added: "Whilst not a distraction at the time of the accident the Board believes it was a contributory factor to the overall focus of the crew."

Both crew members - including the pilot - escaped the crash which saw the helicopter lose its tail and suffer severe damage to its rotor blades, with minor injuries.

Following the release of the report, an MoD spokesman said: "Our highly skilled pilots are trained to deal with all kinds of emergency situations and incidents like this are extremely rare.

"To suggest that this was caused by the filming of a documentary would be disingenuous."

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