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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Iraq crash helicopter shot down
Sarah-Jayne Mulvihill
Flt Lt Mulvihill was the first British servicewoman to die in conflict
Five British Armed Forces personnel died when their helicopter was shot down in Basra, an inquest has heard.

Among them was Flt Lt Sarah-Jayne Mulvihill, 32, of the Royal Air Force, who became the first British woman to be killed in action in Iraq last May.

Wing Cdr John Coxen, 46, Lt Cdr Darren Chapman, 40, Cpt David Dobson, 27 and gunner Paul Collins, 21, also died.

Pte Stuart Drummond told the Oxford inquest he watched as the helicopter went down, engulfed by flames.

The group's Lynx aircraft crashed onto an empty building after an apparent missile strike, the inquest heard.

'Helicopter jerked'

Pte Drummond said: "I saw two yellowy objects going towards the helicopter. I thought they were missiles. The helicopter exploded. It was engulfed in flames and went down.

"Just before it was hit, the helicopter lifted as though it was trying to move out of the way. It sort of jerked."

Assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker told the hearing that, for security reasons, details about the aircraft's defence systems could not be discussed.

Flt Lt Mulvihill and Wing Cdr Coxen were based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.

Lt Cdr Chapman, Cpt Dobson and gunner Collins were all stationed at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.


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