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'Accident' verdict after soldier killed in helicopter crash

A British soldier killed when a helicopter crashed on take-off in Afghanistan died as the result of an accident, a coroner has ruled.

The chopper carrying 27-year-old Captain Ben Babington-Browne, along with two Canadian troops, burst into flames after hitting the ground at the Mescall base in Zabul Province.

Captain Ben Babington-Browne, aged 27, died in 2009 Credit: PA

The soldier, from Maidstone, Kent, was serving with 22 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers when he was killed on the afternoon of July 6, 2009.

He was set to return to Kandahar airfield when a dustball whipped up by the rotor blades forced the pilot to revert to an instrument-only take-off - but the chopper veered right before crashing eight feet to the ground.

Capt Babington-Browne was serving with 22 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers when he was killed Credit: PA

Capt Babington-Browne - described as a "rising star" by superiors - had been sat on the floor of the craft with his legs hanging out the side.

Assistant coroner for Mid Kent and Medway, Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC, said despite unanswered questions and an "inordinate delay" by the Canadians, he must record a verdict of death by accident.