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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 00:21 GMT 01:21 UK
MoD dismisses Chinook death claim
Corporal Mark William Wright
Cpl Mark Wright: "An outstanding soldier"
The Ministry of Defence has dismissed claims a UK soldier died in Afghanistan because the helicopter rescuing him accidentally set off landmines.

A report in the Sun newspaper said that the Chinook sent to help Corporal Mark Wright and his colleagues caused the explosions because of downdraft.

However, an MoD spokesman said there was no evidence for the claims.

Cpl Wright, 27, from Edinburgh, of the Parachute Regiment, died on 6 September in the Helmand province.

An MoD spokesman said: "It is regrettable when soldiers take their view of an incident - especially one involving a death - to the media rather than their own chain of command."

The corporal died after a patrol strayed into an unmarked minefield.

Mission under scrutiny

He was attempting to save the life of an injured paratrooper when he was killed in the incident in which five soldiers were injured, with three of them losing their legs.

They had all been part of a Nato-led security patrol.

It has been alleged that Cpl Wright specifically asked that a Chinook should not be sent and that the helicopter eventually left empty.

The British military operation in Afghanistan came under further scrutiny recently after leaked e-mails showed a major in the paratroopers complaining that the RAF had been "utterly, utterly useless".

Defence Secretary Des Browne has conceded that the Taleban resistance has proved harder than expected to defeat.

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