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Inquest blames U.S. soldiers in British sgt.'s IED death

Oct. 2, 2013 - 03:40PM   |  
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A British inquest found that a British soldier was killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan after American forces made an “inadequate” examination of a notorious route, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

Sgt. Lee Davidson, a 32-year-old father of three, reportedly died on Sept. 9, 2012, when his armored vehicle was blown up in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand province.

An inquest in South Yorkshire heard testimony that Davidson’s convoy was traveling a route that had been swept an hour earlier by American bomb experts in special detection vehicles when his Ridgeback armored vehicle hit a 170-pound bomb detonated by a buried command wire.

Davidson’s commanding officer said intelligence from U.S. forces convinced him the route was the safest available.

A U.S. Army officer, identified only as “Soldier 5,” admitted Army engineers did not get out of their vehicles to look for disturbed ground. It was unclear what soldiers were involved in the route clearance mission.

The U.S. soldiers’ unit and identities were not released Tuesday.

British roadside bomb expert Lt. Col. Carl Frankland told the coroner conducting the inquest he would have recommended soldiers leave their vehicle and search for buried bombs using hand-held detectors or sniffer dogs.

“The route itself was sufficiently risky,” Frankland reportedly said. “They should have stopped and dismounted the vehicle.”

In the U.K., an inquest is a fact-finding exercise conducted by a coroner to determine the circumstances surrounding a death.

The coroner reportedly said there was “clear failure” by the Americans to warn of the risks, and that the route had not been monitored around the clock by Danish troops, giving insurgents time to plant devices.

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