Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Soldier's injuries 'non-survivable'

Aaron McCormick, 22, from Co Londonderry, who was killed in Afghanistan

A soldier who was killed investigating a suspicious device in Afghanistan was heard laughing moments before his death, an inquest has heard.

Ranger Aaron McCormick, 22, from Macosquin, Co Londonderry, was blasted clean over a wall in the explosion on Remembrance Sunday last year, the inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, heard.

The soldier, from 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, had been down on his belly investigating when he appeared to shift his weight and set off the device.

His injuries were so severe there was no chance of survival, the inquest heard.

Sergeant Peter Keogh, who led the patrol, told the inquest that a line of stones had been left near their checkpoint in the Nad'e Ali area of Helmand province. They believed it to be the work of local residents identifying the location of an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).

The patrol went to investigate, and Ranger McCormick - the "vallon man" who was carrying the mine detector - lay on the floor to examine the area for around five minutes.

Sgt Keogh, who was close behind when the device went off, said: "I remember watching at the time. He shifted his weight. He did something. He moved and the device functioned.

"I was just behind him. I was blown off my feet."

His body was evacuated to Camp Bastion, where his death was confirmed.

David Ridley, the Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, recorded a verdict of unlawful killing while on active service in Afghanistan.

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