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Tue, Sep 05, 2006

Officials Provide New Info In Weekend Nimrod Accident

Reports Of Fire Came After Inflight Refueling Operation

We're getting more information about the downing of a Royal Air Force Nimrod MR-2 in Southern Afghanistan on Saturday.

As Aero-News reported, 14 RAF airmen and soldiers were killed in the crash... and witnesses say they saw what looked like a fire in the rear of the plane as it was going down.

The British Ministry of Defense reports it's making fast progress in the investigation of the accident... and have cleared other Nimrods to continue their missions.

One MoD official who spoke on the condition he remain anonymous told the Scotsman newspaper the crash was the result of an accident, possibly related to an aerial refueling operation that took place just before the Nimrod's crew sent out a Mayday call.

Other sources tell the paper that whatever brought the Nimrod down was unique to the aircraft -- and not an inherent fault with the type.

A British military spokesman says the Nimrod was monitoring a stream of civilians who were fleeing combat in the Kandahar province... making sure no friendly aircraft strafed them. The crew reportedly issued a distress call and struggled with the dying aircraft for several minutes before it went down.

One thing appears certain -- the Nimrod was not brought down by Taliban insurgents, who had claimed Saturday they felled the advanced reconnaisance plane with a "stringer" (sic) missile.

A full MoD investigation will probably take several months.

FMI: www.mod.uk

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