British jet downed by U.S. Patriot missile
Last Updated Sun, 23 Mar 2003 12:28:34
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH - A Royal Air Force aircraft was shot down Sunday by a U.S. Patriot missile, a British military official confirmed.
Group Capt. Al Lockwood, a spokesman for British forces in the Gulf, said the aircraft was returning from a mission when it went down over the Iraq-Kuwait border.
The missing aircraft is a Tornado GR4, which normally carries a crew of two. Lockwood said there was no immediate information on the jet's crew.
"We're looking now for the evidence of the aircraft's crash site and obviously the crew members," Lockwood said.
Speaking on ABC's This Week, U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the electronic method used to identify aircraft "broke down somewhere."
"We don't know the facts," U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld told reporters.
Earlier Sunday, a U.S. official confirmed that a Patriot missile battery "may have engaged" the aircraft near the Kuwaiti border. The official said that was all the information available at this point.
Britain has sent some 45,000 military personnel to the Persian Gulf to join in the U.S.-led attack. Fourteen British and five American servicemen have been killed in aircraft-related incidents since the beginning of the war against Iraq.
Six British troops and a U.S. Navy officer died Saturday when two British Royal Navy helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf.
Another helicopter crash Friday claimed the lives of eight British and four U.S. Marines. The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed and burned 14 kilometres south of the Iraqi border town of Umm Qasr. Military officials said no hostile fire was reported in the area.
Written by CBC News Online staff