UK military plane crashes in Iraq


UK military plane crashes in Iraq

It is not known if any survived after a Hercules plane crashed
A British military transport plane has crashed in Iraq, the British Army has confirmed.
There was no immediate word on casualties, but the wreckage was scattered over a large area.

The C-130 Hercules based at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire, crashed about 40 kilometres (25 miles) north west of Baghdad, say US officials.

It was not known if troops or equipment were on board, said the Combined Press Information Centre in Baghdad.

The incident happened around 1640 local time (1340 GMT).

According to reports it was en route from Baghdad to the city of Balad, north-west of the capital, which houses one of the largest US airbases in Iraq.

Helicopters are at the scene and have observed the wreckage.

A British Army spokesman in Iraq said: "We can confirm that a UK C130 Hercules has crashed in central Iraq.

"We are not able to confirm the safety of the crew or any passengers. The cause of the crash is not yet known."

A spokesman from RAF Lyneham said details were still sketchy and again she could not confirm how many people were on board.

"It's too early to speculate on the cause - we're dealing with the immediate aftermath of the incident at the moment," she said.

The US-built troop carrier is used by both British and US forces.

British military chiefs have used the plane as a "workhorse" to transport troops, fuel, ammunition and humanitarian relief.

It is the favoured aircraft of special forces (SAS) and is regarded as being especially of use in Iraq for its ability to land in desert conditions.

Hercules planes have an excellent safety record, according to Paul Beaver of Jane's Defence Weekly.

An RAF Hercules crashed in Albania in 1999 because the load was not properly strapped down, he added.

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