§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach)
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Geoff Hoon) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The RAF board of inquiry (BOI) has produced its interim report into the crash of the C130 Hercules in Iraq on 30 January 2005 with the tragic loss of all 10 personnel on board.
I should emphasise that the BOI is not yet in a position to establish the cause of the crash. There is a great deal of detailed evidence that has yet to be analysed and a number of lines of enquiry that need further investigation.
Based on the evidence currently available, the BOI has ruled out a number of possibilities. These are bird strike, lightning strike, mid-air collision, controlled flight into the ground, wire/obstacle strike, restriction in the aircraft's flying controls, cargo explosion, engine fire, sabotage (including the use of an improvised explosive device) and aircraft fatigue. These interim findings are supported by the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).
There remain a number of other possible causes that require further investigation. The BOI is continuing its work, assisted by the AAIB which is also working independently from the BOI to ensure every possible avenue is explored. We will not be commenting or speculating further on the possible causes of the crash until the BOI has concluded.
The families of those killed in the crash are being informed personally of the BOI interim findings.