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Last Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
RAF 'ignored failings of Nimrod'
A Nimrod MR2
The MoD denies there is a problem with the aircraft
The RAF has been accused of ignoring crucial safety warnings that its Nimrod aircraft were unsafe prior to one exploding in Afghanistan.

Somerset-based Graham Knight, lost his 25-year-old son Ben Knight in the 2006 Nimrod crash which killed 14 airmen.

Mr Knight told BBC News he had issued a freedom of information request over the aircraft's safety.

He claimed the MoD ignored warnings from manufacturers BAE Systems that fire detection equipment was needed.

Mr Knight has spent more than 13 months investigating what caused his son's plane to crash.

He claimed he has internal RAF emails detailing unsafe aircraft.

Mr Knight, from Bridgwater, said: "The more I have dug, the deeper the conspiracy gets - essentially, I think the major failures have been down to communication problems.

If we didn't have confidence in the aircraft, we would not continue to fly them
Ministry of Defence

"I have had these leaked emails. They are from high ranking officers detailing the problems with the fuel leaks.

"It is quite obvious that an aircraft would not suddenly burst into a ball of flames.

"BAE Systems also did a safety report in 2004 saying there were areas of concern.

"If there was a fire there would be no way to extinguish it, the report said."

A fuel leak is thought to have been responsible for the Nimrod crash in Afghanistan in September last year which killed 14 servicemen - including 12 who were based at RAF Kinloss in Moray.

A Board of Inquiry into the crash is under way.

The MoD said in response: "RAF Nimrod aircraft are designed and certified to strict airworthiness and safety standards.

"If we didn't have confidence in the aircraft, we would not continue to fly them.

"Nimrod has a good safety record and remains a potent and respected aircraft.

"The Board of Inquiry to establish the cause of the accident last September is continuing and it would be unhelpful to speculate on the outcome until the board's findings are published."



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Ben Knight's father questions his son's death



SEE ALSO
Prayers mark Nimrod anniversary
02 Sep 07 |  North East/N Isles
Nimrod inquiry still to be fixed
12 Jul 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Nimrod safety 'had been an issue'
04 Jun 07 |  Highlands and Islands
MoD confirms aircraft fuel leaks
22 May 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Father's plea for Nimrod inquest
18 Apr 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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