Victims of RAF Chinook crash remembered 25 years on

The victims of an RAF Chinook helicopter crash have been remembered at services marking 25 years since the disaster.

Relatives of the 29 people who died when the aircraft crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in south-west Scotland joined the commemorations on Sunday.

Services were held at Southend Parish Church on the peninsula and at the crash site to remember the 25 passengers and four crew who died in the 1994 tragedy.

The helicopter was on its way from RAF Aldergrove near Belfast to Inverness when it crashed into a hillside in thick fog.

A memorial cairn stands at the accident spot.

Rev Stephen Fulcher said more than 100 people attended the church service and around 50 people gathered at the crash site, including members of the emergency services working on the night of the disaster.

Mr Fulcher said: “It has been an emotional day but very healing. The relatives appreciated the services.

“It has been important for them and us to mark this significant anniversary. It brings it very close to people who were involved.

“I very much appreciate how the people of Southend have pulled together to make the commemorations a very significant event.

“People have gone above and beyond to make things run smoothly and show support for the relatives of those who died in the crash.

“It has consolidated friendships built up between local people and families over 25 years.”

Wreckage of an RAF Chinook
Wreckage of an RAF Chinook

The Chinook pilots, flight lieutenants Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook, were accused of gross negligence over the crash.

A fresh review was ordered and in 2011 found the pilots should not have been blamed.

Last month the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland made a fresh call for the Ministry of Defence not to destroy records relating to the worst RAF peacetime disaster.

Members backed a motion calling for all documents relating to the crash to be “kept in a safe place and not deleted” in support of the families affected.