Brother of man killed in RAF helicopter crash says MoD 'locked away files' for 100 years

  • Ciaran Fitzpatrick spoke to Chris Cook, who lost his brother in the crash.

The brother of a man who was killed in an RAF Chinook helicopter crash says the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has locked away files relating to the accident for 100 years.

29 people were killed when the helicopter carrying leading security personnel crashed on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula in Argyll and Bute on 2 June 1994.

Chris Cook, brother of one of the two pilots killed in the crash, spoke out after learning the MoD has not arranged an official memorial service to mark the tragedy's 30th anniversary next month.

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

The incident was the worst RAF peacetime disaster, and the reasons for the crash remain unclear.

Richard Cook was one of the 29 people killed in the crash. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Flight lieutenants Richard Cook and Jonathan Tapper were initially accused of gross negligence over the crash.

However, a review of the incident in 2011 found the pilots should not have been blamed.

Mr Cook said: "I find it extremely disappointing that the families and loved ones of the 29 passengers and crew continue to be treated with such disrespect by the MoD.

"Irrespective of the controversy that followed this disaster and the subsequent long campaign that both my and the Tapper family went through to get justice for the two deceased pilots, there is a continued unacceptable lack of recognition or respect by the MoD of the service that each of these 29 brave individuals gave to their country."

The helicopter crashed on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula in Argyll and Bute on 2 June 1994. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The independent review, announced in 2010 and published in 2011, found that criticism of the Board of Inquiry on the grounds that insufficient attention was paid to airworthiness and maintenance aspects was unjustified.

A spokesperson from the MoD said: "The Mull of Kintyre was a tragic accident and our thoughts and sympathies remain with the families, friends and colleagues of all those who died.

"In 2010 the Mull of Kintyre independent review was carried out and the findings were fully accepted.

"The review did not find new evidence to suggest mechanical failure, and no safety issues with the Chinook mark 2 were raised in the report."

  • Chris Cook spoke to ITV News Meridian about his thoughts on the MoD's response.

Chris Cook, a commercial pilot himself, said: "I've never been into conspiracy theories to do with this, there's a lot of them about.

"I don't want to use hostile language like, there's been a blatant cover-up, but when you hear things like this you wonder what other information is out there that they're not letting us see.

"We have questions to why that is. What’s in there that would make them do that?

"Or is it a case of they want the whole thing shut down until we’re long gone? And the next generation are probably long gone."

"It appears from the MoD's statement that they still don't accept, after all this time and after all the reports including the official Mull of Kintyre review, that there could have been any safety issues with the Chinook Mark 2 going into service, which I find staggering.

"Especially as it's been proven that Boscombe Down had grounded it because there were known safety issues with the aircraft.

"The fact that the MoD have had the official files on this crash locked away for 100 years, till 2094, does raise serious questions regarding a cover-up. Since this came to light, many of the bereaved families are now very concerned that a cover-up has occurred."

Richard Cook is buried at St Mary's Church in Winchfield. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Mr Cook and other families are now planning to travel to the Mull of Kintyre on the anniversary of the crash for a church-led remembrance service.

The service has been organised by the local parish minister, Reverend Steven Sass, who has been liaising with an army chaplain in Northern Ireland.

Reverend Roddy McNidder, who was the parish minister at the time of the crash in 1994, will deliver the sermon.

Rev Sass, Minister of Southend Parish Church, said: "We hope that as many of the families as possible will join us. We want them to feel welcome and supported, and we hope that this act of remembrance will give them the support which they need on this important anniversary.

"After the church service, which starts at 12.30pm, we will travel to the memorial cairn at the crash site for a special act of remembrance at 3pm."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...