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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 21:54 GMT
Hopes over Chinook crash dossier
Mull of Kintyre crash
Campaigners claim the crash was caused by mechanical faults

Campaigners have said they are "cautiously optimistic" two RAF pilots killed in the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash will be cleared of blame.

Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook, who died along with 27 others, were accused of gross negligence.

The Mull of Kintyre parliamentary group has met Defence Secretary Des Browne, who has agreed to consider their dossier of evidence.

Mr Browne has pledged to give the information "serious consideration".

Lord O'Neill, who chairs the Mull of Kintyre campaign group at Westminster, said he believed the defence secretary would be left with no option but to clear the pilots.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "The secretary of state has agreed to give serious consideration to (the report's) content.

"The MoD has always stated that if new evidence were presented it would be closely examined and, if appropriate, consideration would be given to reviewing the case.

"But this does not as yet amount to an agreement to review the case."

The helicopter crash happened in thick fog en route from Northern Ireland to Inverness.

An RAF inquiry blamed "gross negligence" by the pilots.

Mr Tapper and Mr Cook were initially cleared of blame.

But the decision was overturned two years after a fatal accident inquiry by two senior RAF officers, who claimed they had been flying too fast and too low in thick fog.

However, campaigners have always disputed the claim, insisting that it was unfair and unfounded.

Amongst those killed were special forces crew and 25 senior members of Northern Ireland's intelligence community.

Campaigners have previously claimed there were serious flaws in the Chinook helicopter, which were more likely to have been responsible for the crash.

Browne re-examines Chinook crash
06 Dec 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Chinook anniversary justice call
02 Jun 05 |  Scotland
Anger over MoD's crash findings
07 Jun 04 |  Scotland

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