Soldier wins six-figure payout after fearing he would die on RAF jet

Soldier wins six-figure PTSD payout after fearing he would die when RAF jet plummeted 4,400ft out of control because pilot got his camera stuck in the controls

  • Military veteran paid hundreds of thousands in compensation over flight terror 
  • Soldier B was onboard the RAF Voyager on the way to Camp Bastion in 2014
  • The plane plummeted downwards for 29 seconds over the Black Sea
  • RAF pilot Flt Lt Andrew Townshend was given a four month suspended sentence

A solider who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from a ‘terrifying’ plan journey into Afghanistan has won hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation.

The veteran was onboard an RAF Voyager on the way to Camp Bastion in 2014 when it suddenly plummeted 4,400ft towards the Black Sea for 29 seconds.

Men and women were left ‘pinned to the ceiling’ as the plane hurtled downwards.

The pilot’s camera had got lodged in the controls at 33,000ft and the 38-year-old solider suffered tissue damage – but the plane was eventually brought back under control.

Service personnel on board the jet (pictured) were immediately flung out of their seats and ‘pinned to the ceiling’ and feared for their lives during the descent

Flt Lt Nathan Jones (pictured) was able to wrestle back control of the nose-diving plane after crawling back to the cockpit on the aircraft’s roof with a fractured back

Crew and passengers thought they were going to die when the Voyager aircraft plummeted 4,400ft in a matter of seconds – after the camera jammed the controls (pictured)

Soldier B, one of 187 passengers, feared he would die. From the same flight more than £1million has now been paid out.

Simon Quinn, of Hilary Meredith solicitors, told the Daily Mirror: ‘This terrifying ordeal was entirely avoidable.

Our client was convinced he was going to die, as were those around him. Despite prolonged treatment, he continues to suffer ongoing anxiety.’


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The plane which left from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire for Helmand Province in February 2014 was flown by RAF pilot Flt Lt Andrew Townshend.

Bulford Military Court, Wilts, heard Flt Lt Townshend was ‘bored’ and ‘practicing taking long-exposure photography when his co-pilot left the cockpit to get a cup of tea’.

The RAF board was shown this photo, taken by the pilot before his plane went into a nosedive. It shows the cockpit of the Voyager aircraft on February 9, 2014

Terrified servicemen and woman on the aircraft flown by Flight Lieutenant Andrew Townshend, 49,(seen outside Bulford military court) were ‘pinned to the ceiling and thought they were going to die’

Giving evidence, Flt Lt Townshend said when he was told his camera caused the dive it was ‘the worst day of his life’.

He added: ‘I remember seeing an awful lot of ground in front of me which you don’t see in planes and remember thinking ‘s**t, this is so bad’.

‘I thought ‘this is game over, I’m going to die in this seat’.

Townshend admitted negligence and was given a four-month suspended sentence.

Flt Lt Townshend’s camera jammed between his chair’s armrest and the side-stick control unit, which works like a joystick. After Flt Lt Jones levelled the plane, they diverted to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey

Col Richard Kemp, the former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, told The Mirror: ‘I would not compare this with an injury sustained in battle. These were troops heading into a war-zone, I would expect them to be more robust. This payout seems extremely high.’

An MOD spokesperson said: ‘We carefully consider all claims and pay compensation where we have a legal obligation to do so. As litigation is currently ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.’

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