Sunday, 19 September 2021

Tributes paid to officers killed in helicopter crash

TWO officers from RAF Benson killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan have been described as ?exceptional men? by their station commander.

TWO officers from RAF Benson killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan have been described as ?exceptional men? by their station commander.

Flight Lieutenants Alan Scott, 32, from London, who served with 33 Squadron, and Geraint 'Roly' Roberts, 44, from North Wales, of 230 Squadron, died following a helicopter crash in Kabul on Sunday.

The Puma Mk 2 crashed as it was landing at Nato?s Resolute Support mission headquarters.

They were among five people killed, while another five were injured. The Ministry of Defence said the incident was under investigation adding that it was an "accident and not the result of insurgent activity.?

Group Captain Simon Paterson, station commander at RAF Benson, said: "Today we mourn the loss of two of our most capable and dedicated colleagues and friends, both of whom were exceptional men who made a massive impact on the Puma Force and, indeed, the station.

?They will be greatly missed by all and we send our heartfelt condolences to the families of Flight Lieutenant Alan Scott and Flight Lieutenant Geraint ?Roly? Roberts.

?A well-respected pilot, Alan was part of the core team which make up the Puma Force. His experience and level-headed nature made him an ideal pilot to go to Afghanistan on operations. His passion and enthusiasm for the job were second to none and he was a large part of the success that the Puma 2 has become.

?I completed my Puma 2 conversion course with Roly last year and have known him as long as I have been flying support helicopters. He was a military man to his core and was the epitome of all that the RAF represents. It was an honour to have served and flown with him.

?Their outstanding contributions to the service and station will not be forgotten and they will live on in our hearts and minds.?

Flt Lt Scott's wife paid tribute to her ?wonderful" and "beloved" husband saying: "My heart is broken at the fact that such a vivacious, young and amazing person can be taken so cruelly and suddenly. Nothing I can say here ? or anywhere else ? could ever do justice to the thoroughly excellent man I?m proud to call my husband. Rest in peace, my love.?

Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon added: "The heartfelt tributes paid to Flight Lieutenant Scott and Flight Lieutenant Roberts demonstrate that they were both highly respected and professional members of the RAF. Their untimely deaths are a tragedy and my thoughts and deepest sympathies are with their families at this difficult time.?

Henley MP John Howell wrote on Twitter: ?My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the two RAF Benson personnel killed in the helicopter crash. Such sad news.?

Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, also passed on his sympathies to the families and colleagues of Flt Lts Scott and Roberts.

He said: ?We have been saddened to hear news overnight of the military casualties in Afghanistan.

?Oxfordshire is a county with a very strong military presence and I am sure the thoughts of everyone in the county will be with the families and colleagues of these two people at such a difficult time.?

Resolute Support is Nato?s train, advise and assist mission in Afghanistan.

In June 1997, 33 Squadron took up residence at RAF Benson and was joined in November 2009 by 230 Squadron.

Pictured: Fl Lt Geraint Roberts and Fl Lt Alan Scott (Photos courtesy of the Ministry of Defence).

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