MoD names helicopter crash victim

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has named one of the two British personnel killed when two helicopters crashed in Iraq yesterday.

Colour Sergeant Mark Powell, 37, died yesterday north of Baghdad in what appears to have been a mid-air collision between two Puma helicopters.

He had served with the Parachute Regiment since 1990 and was described in an MoD statement as "an exemplary combat leader, soldier, father, husband, friend and Briton".

"His loss is tragic, and keenly felt by all; but his example to others will be sure to endure and inspire us all for years to come. Our thoughts now are with his family and his comrades," the statement added.

An RAF airman also died in the incident but his identity has not yet been released. The MoD said that the victim's next of kin had been unable to inform other close family members and would withhold details for a further period of time.

The deaths bring the total number of UK fatalities in Iraq since the 2003 invasion of the Middle Eastern country to 142. They are the first since four British personnel died when an armoured vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on April 5th.

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