29/01/2014 Look North (East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire)


29/01/2014

The latest news, sport and weather for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.


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Good evening. Pointless and avoidable. The words Flight

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Lieutenant Sean Cunningham's parents have used to describe his death.

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Today saw the end of a three`week inquest into how the Red Arrow's

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pilot died when his ejection seat went off at RAF Scampton in 2011.

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Today the coroner said Sean Cunningham's death was preventable,

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criticising the company which made the ejection seat and the Ministry

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of Defence. Caroline Bilton has this report.

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It was a job he loved but it ultimately cost him his life. Flight

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Lieutenant Sean Cunningham died after his ejection seat went off

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during routine checks on the ground at RAF Scampton in 2011. At the

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inquest into his death, it was revealed the accident could have

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been prevented. His family have been coming here every day for three

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weeks to get the answers they've been searching for for two years.

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That wait clearly had taken its toll when it came to giving their

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reaction today. Sean was blameless and his tragic

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death, excuse me. His tragic death was preventable. We

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still find it difficult to accept so many people could have missed what

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should have been obvious to those having a duty to ensure the safety

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of the seat. The inquest heard of concerns over

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pressured timetables, a dilution of experience within the engineers and

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severe staff shortages. Problems with the ejection seat

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where the safety pin could be inserted into the handle without it

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being safe were known but not communicated.

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The handle had been left in an unsafe position for four days before

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the accident and was seen on 19 different occasions but it went

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unnoticed. Sean's parachute did not deploy

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because a crucial nut and bolt had been over tightened.

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Had his parachute worked, he would still be alive.

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The over tightening of that nut and bolt and its potential to put life

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at risk was known 20 years ago by the ejection seat manufacturers,

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Martin Baker. Other foreign forces were informed but not the RAF.

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In relation to the 19 missed opportunities to notice the seat

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firing handle was unsafe the coroner, Stuart Fisher, said the RAF

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did as an organisation have a level of appreciation some years prior to

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2011 of this aspect of the seat's design. They failed to take

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sufficient steps to bring that to the attention of the air or ground

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crew. The RAF's failure in this regard meant that the lives of

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numerous personnel were put at risk. We have made and will continue to

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make every effort to make sure such a tragic accident could never happen

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again. With regard to this nut and bolt and

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Martin Baker's failure to notify the MoD of potential risks of over

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tightening, Stuart Fisher said there was a very serious failure of

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communication in my view by Martin Baker. It seems to me there is no

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logic to warn and inform some but not others.

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At RAF Scampton today the Red Arrows' training session was given

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in Sean's honour, his family watching from the ground. Business

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has resumed here, Sean's family hope lessons learned from their son's

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death will mean these men and women are safer in the future.

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Caroline is at RAF Scampton now. Have improvements been made since

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Sean Cunningham's death? The coroner said at the start of

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this inquest no stone would be left unturned and I have to say all

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parties have been scrutinised in this case. Martin Baker didn't

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respond in a statement today to the coroner 's criticism of the failure

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to communicate and the coroner said he will writing to the company about

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this issue. They have however redesigned that nut and bolt and the

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firing handle and I'm told they will be fitted and operational by the end

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of the year. The coroner is also going to write to the RAF and says

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he is not satisfied over the safety of that seat firing handle and the

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HSE are still investigating this case. There could still be a

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prosecution. Almost ?15 million of government

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money has been secured for a new energy park in North Lincolnshire.

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The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership was one of 12 areas to

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get the money. Last month ministers gave Able UK permission for a giant

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business park for energy companies on the south bank of the Humber. It

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will employ 4,000 people. 15 million is going to help

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kick`start with 350 construction jobs, looking at the energy supply,

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creating a quarter of a million square metres of commercial space

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there, helping with infrastructure, roads, really getting the project

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going. Health experts from East Yorkshire

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say they would welcome a ban on smoking in cars where children are

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present. The House of Lords tonight voted in favour of a ban despite

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claims from some peers that the law would be unenforceable. Anti`smoking

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campaigners say many drivers are unaware of the risks.

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I think most people know about the dangers of passive smoking. A lot of

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people do not tend to smoke in the house much anymore. We seem to have

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got that message through. It is even more concentrated in the car because

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of it being a small space. It's been announced that the Queen's

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baton event will come to Hull ahead of this summer's Commonwealth Games

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in Glasgow. The Olympic Torch relay was a huge success travelling

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through East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in 2012 and it's hoped

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the Queen's baton event will be able to recreate some of that magic.

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There will be various events which are celebrating sport. We're really

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trying to get people to come to those events, come together, young

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people, families and celebrate the fact that sport is an important part

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of our country still. Time now for the weather with Paul

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Hudson. Hello, again, the dreary weather continues tomorrow, another

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cloudy day with patchy outbreaks of rain to come. At the moment there is

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a lot of cloud, a few spots of drizzle. There will be a few

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drifting in from the North Sea. Just a chance of a little bit of sleet

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perhaps over the Wolds. A risk of icy patches, mainly over the routes

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across the top of the Wolds. Tomorrow, a cloudy day with some

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patchy outbreaks of rain. A bit of wintriness over the tops of the

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Wolds but it won't amount to anything at all. We might even get

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longer outbreaks of rain developing through the course of the day.

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Temperatures coming in at four or five Celsius. Friday, a dry start

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and heavy rain and strong winds by the end of the day. Just a reminder

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Newsnight is starting now on BBC Two with Jeremy Paxman looking into a

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row about a cartoon that's angered Christians and Muslims. . From all

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of us here, have a good night. Hello. The next dose of wet and

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windy weather is due to arrive on Friday from the Atlantic. Today we

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have had an easterly wind bringing the chill as the threat of icy

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patches comes to the north where the cloud breaks. More cloud further

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south. Maybe some sleet and snow in parts of East Wales as we engage the

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cold air. Temperatures in the south-east are not changing much

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because the rain keeps going. It will be colder further north,

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though. Icy patches are possible. More wintry showers in the

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north-east. Quite a few flood warnings in Tayside. Write to the

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west of the

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