"Avoidable accident" on the ranges, report released on death in Tain last year

#21
1. Whilst these types of accidents are thankfully few and far between the primacy of the Police did seem to maybe hinder the military investigation side of life or am i totally wrong? Maybe there is a future requirement where its more of a joint condition between the mil and civ Police in these types of investigations?
As the incident happened in Scotland, by Scottish law there has to be a fatal accident inquiry, held by the civi authorities. I'm sure someone on here with a bit more knowledge on the subject can explain it better.
 
#22
I think HERRICK/TELIC with their increased Sniper use and probably better understanding from a ISTAR point of view proved how much more in demand Snipers suddenly became.
With that then, the niche capability becomes more generalised with a possible degradation of both training standard and output.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#23
As the incident happened in Scotland, by Scottish law there has to be a fatal accident inquiry, held by the civi authorities. I'm sure someone on here with a bit more knowledge on the subject can explain it better.
We don't have coroners up here. Therefore any death requiring legal intervention is dealt with by the Procurator Fiscal.
The FAI is under the jurisdiction of a Sheriff who can make a legal judgement.
This may take several different forms, from just a report to legal enforceable recommendations. (such as after a death in a care home about the training required for care staff which would then be applied through out Scotland)
 
#24
As the incident happened in Scotland, by Scottish law there has to be a fatal accident inquiry, held by the civi authorities. I'm sure someone on here with a bit more knowledge on the subject can explain it better.
Totally agree, but maybe a more joint atmosphere rather than what came across was "Police denied ATO access to the scene".
 
#26
An experienced soldier has an ND and kills himself.
No one else's fault. RIP.
While that is true maybe you should read the report. Especially the part about students firing live before doing SAA lessons. Or the part where students who hadn't done SAA lessons being shown a 'quick work around' so they could pass the WHT. So they could shoot next day. Or the part where four different weapons were found to be 'unsafe' after leaving the firing point.
 
#27
While that is true maybe you should read the report. Especially the part about students firing live before doing SAA lessons. Or the part where students who hadn't done SAA lessons being shown a 'quick work around' so they could pass the WHT. So they could shoot next day. Or the part where four different weapons were found to be 'unsafe' after leaving the firing point.
I am quite familiar with situations where death or injury has been caused by skipping around the rules.

Students is one thing, an experienced soldier is another
 
#28
Experienced soldiers make mistakes as well. There was a time when range safety and weapon handling proficiency was designed and practised to try to reduce the possibility of mistakes happening.
 
#29
Stonker....it seems that things have certainly changed. Centralised training was mentioned being held at Brecon but this was not suitable due to limited capacity and high failure rates. It was then decided to put the now called Sniper Operator's Course down to Div/Bde level being undertaken by nominated Units.
That reads very much as the saem story 30 years ago: limited availbility/high failure rates on central courses, sustained/increasingly high demand at unit leve = Farm It Out to formations to resolve the issue. It's oerfectly viable, assuming that instructors simply observe the safety procedures that have been drilled into them since they first laid eyes on one of Her Majesty's firearms.

I hope to read the redact on the train this morning.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#30
I am quite familiar with situations where death or injury has been caused by skipping around the rules.

Students is one thing, an experienced soldier is another
An experienced soldier who had not received any of the 18 SAA lessons mandated for the weapon he was being asked to use?

He was a student on the course.

He was not experienced in the subject matter at hand nor the weapon involved.

The safety supervision was inadequate, and command and control poor.

"1.4.193. Causal Factors.
a. The Panel concluded that the unload drills conducted by the firers at the end of Detail 1 were inadequate. As a result, 2 unsafe weapons were left on the firing line and it is extremely likely, at this juncture. LCp1 Spencer's weapon was also unsafe due to an erroneous unload drill. Due to a lack of SAA training, inadequate safety supervision, and poor command and control, the incomplete unload was a Causal Factor in this accident
b. The Panel concluded that the most probable cause of the inadvertent trigger operation was by equipment snagging on the trigger. This inadvertent trigger operation resulted in an un-demanded discharge of LCp1 Spencer's L115A3 Sniper Rifle and was therefore a Causal Factor"
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#31
#32
I feel compelled to reiterate a few points that you gentlemen have already made.

"Big boys rules" in my mind means the RCO trusts the individuals firing to the point where he let's them crack on with the shoot, with minimal verbal input. That doesn't mean the normal range procedure of clearing someone off the point doesn't get followed.

recce and snipers have traditionally built their foundations on the fact they are made of mature, confident and experienced men who don't need someone looking out for the all time. That's absolutely find in some regards but when it comes to exercises and ranges, it's important to make sure they are ran as per the range document.
 
#33
Don't forget, the "big boys rules" comments are also informed by the DSA investigating the deaths of the TA SAS aspirants.


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#34
An experienced soldier has an ND and kills himself.
No one else's fault. RIP.
I see your thinking why you say that but its a bit blunt.
As others have said and the report refers to actions of others and the system contributed to it. So sole blame does not rest with the Soldier.
Weapon.....lack of experience handling it due to poor lead-up actions up until the day in question.
Weapon not cleared....soldier did not unload it correctly but assumption by others after the drill was called for, contributed to the outcome.
Weapon handled in a unsafe manner.....because the Soldier was considered a top lad then others dare i say let him get away with this manner, this in turn contributed to it. Again a contributory factor.

Just those 3 examples above shows it wasn't wholly the lads fault. This incident should be referred to in the back of the minds of all RCO & SPO's when carrying out those ranges on courses like these where missguided experience must not replace procedures in place to stop someone being killed......refer back to the Castlemartin CH2 incident as a prime example.
 
#35
Ch5120- I'd go one step further.

If he was supposed to have been unloaded then it's entirely the RCOs fault that it wasn't.

For inspection port arms, show guns clear, etc... a brand new screw knows the score and I bet it was in his RAM too.
 

AfghanAndy

On ROPS
On ROPs
#36
Stonker....it seems that things have certainly changed. Centralised training was mentioned being held at Brecon but this was not suitable due to limited capacity and high failure rates. It was then decided to put the now called Sniper Operator's Course down to Div/Bde level being undertaken by nominated Units.
The word that confused me was ‘unacceptably high failure rates.’

Although a thorough investigation was conducted the main issue for me poor weapons handling. But does unacceptably high failure rates mean that Brecon was doing something wrong?

As the report clarified there was a whole host of minor contributing factors that may have contributed to the event, but the event happened because somebody was resting their chin on a loaded weapon. ( I’ve been on tangeswhere things have been rushed, people have been tired and often had the ‘did I clear that weapon moment’ after I’ve finished the shoot. It’s never stopped me double checking the weapon off range though.)

If anything a cautionary tale that everybody in the Army, Navy, Airforce and Royal Marines should be made aware of.
 
#37
I feel compelled to reiterate a few points that you gentlemen have already made.

"Big boys rules" in my mind means the RCO trusts the individuals firing to the point where he let's them crack on with the shoot, with minimal verbal input. That doesn't mean the normal range procedure of clearing someone off the point doesn't get followed.

recce and snipers have traditionally built their foundations on the fact they are made of mature, confident and experienced men who don't need someone looking out for the all time. That's absolutely find in some regards but when it comes to exercises and ranges, it's important to make sure they are ran as per the range document.
Seconded. Emphatically.
 
#38
An experienced soldier has an ND and kills himself.
No one else's fault. RIP.
That's exactly the sort of simplistic solution that guarantees more experienced soldiers having more accidents and killing themselves. Fortunately the people who wrote the report are more interested in preventing it happening again.
 
#39
does unacceptably high failure rates mean that Brecon was doing something wrong?
It means that the supply of trained snipers wasn't sufficient to meet demand in formations/units, because the Brecon staff teach to the absolute standards set down for snipers. It was a problem throughout my whole career - and demand for snipers wasn't as great back then, as it seems to be after a decade and a half of rediscovering the value of the skillset.

I have never seen that as 'doing something wrong', more as a reflection of a staffing failure (insufficient course vacancies) combined with the inability/failure of units to get their candidates to the required start standards. This in turn was (is?) a reflection of the pressures on units that prevent them doing meaningful training day to day, and the ongoing neglect of SAA as reflected in the chronic under use of expensive range complexes, such as those at Bulford.

In short, it's symptomatic of a systemic problem, unaddressed throughout my adult life.
 
#40
An experienced soldier has an ND and kills himself.
No one else's fault. RIP.
read the report, google "root cause analysis"

You are right he did but why did it happen is much more complex and the aim of the investigation\analysis is to prevent it happening again

One causal issue brought up was the perception that he was an experienced soldier
 

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