Death patrol 'lacked equipment'

10 November 2009 05:31
A serviceman was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan after a patrol failed to spot a makeshift mine because it had no metal detector, an inquest has heard.Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson, 51, of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, died in April 2008. [LNB]SAC Thompson, of Nottingham, was killed along with SAC Graham Livingstone, 23, of Glasgow, by an explosion at a river crossing near Kandahar Airfield. [LNB]They had been patrolling Daman District when their Land Rover was hit. [LNB]SAC Thompson became the oldest serviceman to die in the conflict when the device detonated on 13 April 2008. [LNB]The inquest heard that the patrol was meant to have two metal detectors but instead only had one because of equipment shortages. [LNB]Flt Lt Andrew Costin told the court: "We put in for a replacement which was never received. One was borrowed from other patrols." [LNB]Two others injured[LNB]The patrol had split up and the crossing had been checked earlier in the day by the section of the patrol without the device. [LNB]A further check was not made when the patrol regrouped and the return crossing was made. [LNB]Two other personnel were injured in the attack. [LNB]Sgt Christopher Pacey, who was in a WMIK Land Rover, told the inquest: "Being aware that we didn't have the appropriate equipment to carry out (the drills), the only thing you could do was use other equipment at our disposal - binoculars and thermal imaging equipment to check for disrupted ground. [LNB]"We checked to the best of our ability with the equipment we had and found nothing at that time." [LNB]SAC Thompson joined the RAF in 1973 and was based at RAF Cottesmore in Leicestershire, but left four years later to pursue a career in business. [LNB]He became managing director of Sherwood Ducting Ltd in Nottingham. [LNB]In 2005 he became a reservist, serving as a gunner and later a mortar man in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. [LNB]He then joined No 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron. [LNB]The inquest continues.

Source: BBC_Sport