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Sunday, 13 January 2008

Army hero, Cpl Mark Wright, died because of failings of the Ministry of Defence

Army hero left to die by failings at MoD

Extract from the Sunday Telegraph:

"Last night, Bob Wright, the soldier's father, said he was furious with the Ministry of Defence, which he accused of "trying to hide the truth".

Cpl Wright, a 27-year-old paratrooper, was one of seven soldiers who became trapped in a minefield in September 2006 in Helmand, southern Afghanistan, following an operation to rescue a wounded soldier.

The report states:

• Cpl Wright died because of the non-availability of an aircraft equipped with a suitable winch

• Soldiers did not have a map of the mined area even though one was available

• Radio problems led to a communications breakdown

• Soldiers had to provide their own mine extraction kits

• The British military needs to develop its own Combat Search and Rescue capability.

At the time of the incident, the MoD made no mention of the equipment problems and claimed that Cpl Wright's injuries were so severe that he was effectively beyond medical help. But a copy of the soldier's post- mortem report, which has also been seen by this newspaper, states that the injuries were "survivable".

Last night, Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, described the findings as an appalling indictment of Labour defence policy.

"This is a catalogue of unacceptable errors," he said. "Contrary to the MoD's claims, it is clear that Cpl Wright's injuries were survivable."

Three of the soldiers who lost legs are suing the MoD for negligence. Their lawyer, Paul Harrington, who is also acting for Cpl Wright's parents, said: "There was a systemic failure by the Ministry of Defence in providing adequate resources, equipment and intelligence which led to a wholly avoidable death and serious injuries.""

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