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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 September 2006, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
RAF base 'in mourning' over crash
Kinloss flag
The RAF base at Kinloss is "in mourning"

An RAF officer has said that the station at Kinloss is in mourning after the loss of 12 personnel based at the Moray air base.

Twelve RAF personnel from 120 squadron, a Royal Marine and an Army soldier were on board a Nimrod MR2 aircraft which came down in southern Afghanistan.

It is believed a technical fault was to blame for the loss of the aircraft.

Group Captain Chris Birks said that no details of the deceased would be given until the families were informed.

Colleagues and friends

The station commander said: "All were long-serving and experienced air crew and were known to me personally.

"As well as first class personnel, these were colleagues and friends.

"This is a day no-one ever wants to experience. The station is in mourning."

Group Captain Birks said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of those who died.

Group Captain Chris Birks and Wing commander Martin Cannard
RAF officials at the base said the air crew were first class personnel

The Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft, which came into service in 1979, was operating over Afghanistan in support of a Nato operation.

The group captain said he would not go into details about the operation.

Wing commander Martin Cannard, officer commanding 120 squadron, said that the indications were that it was a "tragic accident caused by a technical fault".

He said: "We have lost good friends and colleagues. Many known personally to us over many years.

"I've been humbled by the commitment and determination of all of my people to do all that they can for those that have lost loved ones and friends.

"This will be our sole focus in the coming days."

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