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SAS unit in Hercules crash during daring secret mission against ISIS

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SAS unit in Hercules crash during daring secret mission against ISIS

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SAS soldiers on a secret mission against Islamic State in Syria had a lucky escape when their plane crashed on landing.

     
     
     
     

 

 

By Joe Hinton / Published 1st July 2018

ALAMY

The £65million Hercules C-130J was badly damaged

The RAF special forces plane ran off the runway in darkness at more than 100mph.

The £65million Hercules C-130J was badly damaged and has now been written off as an operational loss.

Its crew have been hailed heroes after they managed to control the plane and bring it to a halt.

The incident happened at their base in northern Iraq, the Daily Star Sunday can reveal.

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“It was so badly damaged the MoD have written it off.”

Operating with the call sign “Jezebel” the plane from 47 (Special Forces) Squadron is understood to have been carrying an SAS assault force.

RAF crews assigned to special forces have regularly landed at remote airstrips in Syria to airlift SAS troops back to base.

Details of the sensitive operations have been kept under wraps but a report highlighted the crash in a routine summary of incidents.

According to a senior source, the Hercules had landed at a remote desert airstrip in Syria last August to pick up UK and US troops after a major attack on Islamic State forces near the town of Raqqa.

He said: “A force of more than 100 had been on the ground for some days and been engaged in a fight with the remnants of IS as Kurdish-backed coalition forces moved into Raqqa.

“They were loaded into the Herc along with two four-wheel drive vehicles, but the plane is only designed to carry 88 personnel and a pallet of ammunition and water.

“It may be that the aircraft burst or damaged a tyre or tyres as it lifted out of the Syrian desert, but whatever happened they were all lucky to get out with their lives.

“Be in no doubt that the pilots and aircrew did a fantastic job.

“The aircraft screamed off the end of the runway on landing and made what can only be described as a heavy stop.

“It was so badly damaged the MoD have written it off.”

The aircraft has been stripped of its engines but the remains of the aircraft were still at Erbil airport in May.

A Board of Inquiry into the crash is due to report next month.

While the Erbil crash is the first to involve the new variant of the C-130, the RAF have lost six Hercules since 1999 when one crashed in Albania.

In January 2005, a Hercules was shot down by insurgents in northern Iraq with the loss of 10 personnel.

In May 2006 a C130 loaded with SAS soldiers hit a mine when it landed at a remote airstrip in Afghanistan.

The aircraft caught fire and burned out. And in 2007 a Hercules was damaged when it hit a mine in Iraq’s Maysan Province and a couple of months later another was damaged beyond repair when it made a heavy landing at a remote airstrip in Afghanistan.

The most recent crash involved a Hercules at Brize Norton in 2010. The aircraft made a belly landing and was regarded as being beyond repair.

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/713361/sas-unit-hercules-crash-syria-mission-islamic-state

 

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