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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007, 06:33 GMT
Friendly fire pilot 'experienced'
Matty Hull
Matty Hull died in an attack by US A10 warplanes near Basra
A pilot involved in the "friendly fire" incident which killed a UK soldier has more then 20 years experience in the US Air Force, it has been reported.

The Sun has identified Col Gus Kohntopp as the pilot who fired the shots in Iraq which killed Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, 25, from Berkshire.

A US military spokesman told BBC News officials would not comment on the identity of the two pilots involved.

The squadron involved in the 2003 incident has apologised for it.

We're obviously very, very sorry to the family and extend our sympathies to them
Idaho National Guard

L/Cpl Hull, from the Household Cavalry Regiment, had been travelling in a column of light armoured vehicles near the southern Iraqi city of Basra when it was attacked by a US A-10 "tankbuster" aircraft in March 2003.

He died from multiple injuries inside his blazing Scimitar tank, despite efforts by colleagues to save him.

A spokesman for the Idaho National Guard said it was "very sorry that this incident happened".

"We're obviously very, very sorry to the family and extend our sympathies to them," Lt Tony Vincelli said.

The US military spokesman said it would not comment on the identity of the two pilots, saying they were entitled to their privacy.

The pair had already been cleared of any wrongdoing by a military inquiry, the spokesman added.

Col Kohntopp, who took part in more than 25 combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was awarded the Bronze Star for his service during the recent Iraq War and now works as a commercial pilot.

A row broke out at L/Cpl Hull's inquest in Oxfordshire after a US cockpit video and recording of the American pilots involved was withheld from the inquest.

It was later leaked to The Sun newspaper, prompting the Americans to agree that it could be shown to the coroner.

L/Cpl Hull's widow Susan Hill, a primary school teacher, told BBC News she had watched the cockpit video recording and had found it "immensely sad".




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Interview with Matty Hull's widow



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