Belfast Telegraph

Chinook crash 'still a mystery' 20 years on

By Rebecca Black

A woman left widowed by the Chinook crash on the Mull of Kintyre 20 years ago has said the truth of what really happened will never be known.

Top security officials from the RUC, MI5 and Army died alongside the four-man crew in the disaster on June 1, 1994.

The passengers were travelling to a security conference in Inverness from RAF Aldergrove when the helicopter ploughed into a hillside in thick mist.

A service for the 29 people who died in the crash was held yesterday at the Mull of Kintyre Memorial Garden in Lisburn.

Representatives from several of the bereaved families took part alongside representatives of the military and MoD.

The service was conducted by Rev Doctor David Coulter, deputy chaplain general, and by Father Michael Fava, senior chaplain to 38 (Irish) Brigade.

The names of those who died were read out by Lt Colonel Nick Ilic and a wreath was laid by Brigadier Ralph Woodisse, commander of 38 (Irish) Brigade.

An initial RAF report in 1995 blamed the two pilots, but in May 2010 Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced he was ordering a review of the evidence.

The following year the pilots, Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook, were exonerated of any blame by the fresh review.

Susan Phoenix, the widow of Detective Superintendent Ian Phoenix, criticised the MoD's handling of the case, adding she has spent 20 years not knowing what caused the crash.

"As far as I know, no official reason was given for the crash. We may never know," she said. "I think there will always be a mystery."

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