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  Our man in the Gulf: Shocking news
Updated 23 March 2003, 19.33
The Ark Royal
BBC reporter and ex-Newsround presenter Matthew Price is reporting from the aircraft carrier Ark Royal in the Gulf.

Matthew Price
Our reporter, Matthew Price
And he's writing a web diary for CBBC Newsround.

He describes the atmosphere after the helicopter crash, which killed members of the Ark Royal crew.


Diary entry 11:

I was woken by Colin my cameraman shaking me. I slept so deeply I didn't know where I was at first.

"There's been some bad news" he said. "Two helicopters have crashed. They belong to Ark Royal."

A few minutes later we were having a briefing.

Seven crew members had been killed. They'd all been on this ship. I'd been in the bar with them, spoken to a few. They were friends and colleagues of the people on board Ark Royal.

Terrible shock

It was a terrible shock.

Other members of the aircrew stood around, taking quietly amongst themselves.

We were told we could not report it, quite rightly, until the families had been told.

Then, on the TV, they broadcast the news of the crash.

The aircrew were furious. They had to call their families to tell them they were alright.

And what of the families of the victims?

They hadn't yet been told. They could find out from the TV rather than formally from the Ministry of Defence.

The captain of the ship and others decided the best thing was for me to go live, to get the full and correct story on air.

Tragic

So that's what we did. All day, programmes were interested. It was - the captain said - a shock, a tragic accident.

The ship is a little numb today. The other crew members of the helicopters the hardest hit of course.

But many of the ship's crew had become good friends with those who'd died. At dinner the aircrew had a commemorative dinner.

Tomorrow we'll have a service in the ship's hangar. It will be an emotional moment.



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