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1994 - Mr Major’s Comments on Helicopter Crash

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the previous night’s helicopter crash in which 29 people died. The comments were made on 3rd June 1994.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about the crash].

PRIME MINISTER:

Let me firstly say about this dreadful accident that we have lost a large number of men and women who had played a very substantial part in British public life. It is a very great loss for them and for their families and I deeply regret this very tragic accident.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if the damage to the counter-terrorist efforts had been measured yet].

PRIME MINISTER:

No, these were very senior people working for the Northern Ireland Office, the Army, the RUC, and the Royal Air Force. They were certainly very senior people engaged in intelligence and security work, but we haven’t yet done an assessment.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked whether it was usual for so many anti-terrorist experts to travel together].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it would have been an operational decision. Who made that operational decision, at the moment is not known. It may well have been someone who was on the helicopter themselves. But they were not travelling over hostile territory, they were not thought to be in any risk and the Chinook had been pretty safe in recent years. But I think that is a matter the inquiry will have to look at.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

The preliminary advice I have is that there’s no reason for that at all. This looks, so far as one can tell and we have set up an inquiry, of course we will not have the result of that for some time, but it looks as though it was a straightforward accident in appalling weather. That is what it looks like.