Lords Chinook challenge

The Government expects to have a debate in the House of Lords on last week's select committee report on the fatal crash of...

The Government expects to have a debate in the House of Lords on last week's select committee report on the fatal crash of Chinook ZD576 on the Mull of Kintyre in June 1994.

The report found that two RAF air marshals were not justified in finding the two pilots of the Chinook helicopter grossly negligent. In vindicating a five-year campaign by Computer Weekly, the report said there was doubt over the cause of the crash because of the possibility of a technical malfunction such as a sudden engine surge.

Computer Weekly has highlighted internal Ministry of Defence documents that show how problems with the helicopter's Fadec computer system were causing engine surges at around the time of the crash.

Lord Chalfont, who led a campaign in the Lords for the select committee to be set up, said he has been told by the Government that it will arrange an early date for a debate once ministers have responded to the Lords report.

Chalfont said there would be no debate if the Government accepted the committee's report and overturned the gross negligence verdict. The fact that a debate is being planned indicates that the Government will not agree with the report's findings and will instead support the verdict of gross negligence against the pilots.

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