§ Mr. Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the inquiry by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch into the RAF Chinook crash on the Mull of Kintyre was independent of his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Spellar
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is an independent part of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. It is not unusual for the Ministry of Defence to take advantage of their expertise to examine the site of a military aircraft accident and/or undertake a full or limited wreckage analysis; this was the case with the Chinook crash on the Mull of Kintyre.