Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Hercules plane destroyed in Iraq

A Hercules C130K
The Hercules plane landed 20 km north of Al-Amarah

An RAF Hercules transport plane has been destroyed in southern Iraq after it was damaged in an "incident" on landing, the Ministry of Defence said.

Two people suffered minor injuries in Monday's incident, after which the C130 plane was destroyed because of the potential risk involved in recovery.

A military spokesman in Basra said there was no evidence of hostile action during the landing in Maysan province.

The plane, based at RAF Lyneham, had been on a routine re-supply journey.

It landed 20km north of Al-Amarah at about 2010 local time (1710GMT).

The two people injured were taken to hospital, but the spokesman would not confirm if they were military personnel.

'Potential risk'

The Hercules could not safely be recovered and was destroyed by coalition forces three hours later, said the Basra-based spokesman.

An investigation was underway, he added.

The MoD said the plane was "significantly damaged" during landing, which led to the site being secured and a "thorough assessment" being carried out.

"It was concluded that the aircraft could not be recovered without exposing our personnel to undue risk," said a spokesman.

He went on: "There was also a potential risk that anti-Iraqi forces might obtain information on specialist equipment.

"The aircraft was therefore safely destroyed by multinational forces."

The MoD stressed the aircraft had been making "a routine landing on a tactical landing zone" and the plane had not been shot down.

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