Wednesday, September 5, 2012

British army officer's despair as U.S. Apache helicopter attacks base pilot mistook for Taliban stronghold

Lance Corporal Christopher Roney, 23, left behind his baby son William when he was shot by a US helicopter

An army officer held his head in his hands and yelled ‘Stop, stop, stop’ when he realised U.S. helicopters were mistakenly attacking a British base and not a Taliban hideout, an inquest heard today.

Shocked commanders expressed ‘disbelief’ as it became clear the aircraft had wrongly targeted UK troops.

Lance Corporal Christopher Roney, 23, was killed and ten comrades injured as Apache gunships fired 200 rounds at Patrol Base Almas in Sangin, an insurgent stronghold in Helmand, Afghanistan.

The soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Rifles were engaged in a fierce firefight in an area known as the Taliban Playground when air support was called in.

But the helicopter crews mistook their mud-walled compound - which was not on official maps - for an enemy position.

They opened fire with deadly 30mm chain guns - fatally wounding L/Cpl Roney, a married father-of-one from Sunderland, Wearside. Read More