Saturday, 5 February 2011
An 'Operational Accident'
A British soldier died in an 'operational accident' in Nad-e Ali district of Helmand yesterday.
The MoD said the accident was being investigated, but it is understood the soldier died in hospital after he was shot by mistake when he and his comrades were cleaning their rifles after a routine patrol. One of the weapons fired live ammunition which struck the soldier.
No other information is yet available, but if this soldier was shot by a colleague who was negligent in following the strict military procedures for weapon cleaning, the tragedy is two-fold. One soldier has lost his life and his family will suffer endlessly from that loss. Another soldier will carry the burden of his death because he didn't adhere to well practiced methods and knew his action was preventable. The truth of the accident will become known in time no doubt.
A total of 351 British military personnel have now died in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001. The latest death brings the number of troops who have died as a result of accidents, illness, non-combat injuries or who have not yet officially been assigned a cause of death to 42.