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Tue, Dec 05, 2006

RAF Crew Uses Teapot To Plug Gap In Nimrod Hatch

Stopgap Fix Raises Safety Concerns

British military officials are especially sensitive to potential safety issues, in the wake of the September loss of a Royal Air Force Nimrod reconnaissance plane in Afghanistan... so many are concerned with the inelegant, but effective, fix another Nimrod crew recently used to block a hatch gap on their plane.

The BBC reports the plane's crew used a teapot to plug a hole caused by a malfunctioning hatch cover on a flight from Cornwall to Kinloss.

"There was a minor malfunction with the hatch cover and the teapot would have been used to make it more comfortable for the crew," an RAF spokeswoman said. "At no time was air crew safety compromised."

But the Ministry of Defense -- along with families of the 12 RAF personnel, a Royal Marine, and soldier who died in the September crash -- says the incident raises questions about the Nimrod's safety record... and techniques used to fix problems that may crop up in flight.

"Family members of service personnel who died have had concerns about maintenance and safety," said Scottish National Party defense spokesman Angus Robertson. "This new wave of revelations is not going to instil the crews or families with confidence."

"I really hope the MoD will be doing everything possible so that there are no repetitions of these technical problems and maintain safety," Robertson added.

The MoD says a thorough investigation of the safety of the RAF Nimrod fleet is underway.

FMI: www.raf.mod.uk

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