A YOUNG woman whose father died in a Nimrod plane crash over Afghanistan almost a decade ago has said she is still angry over the cause of the accident.
Flight Sergeant Gary Andrews, 48, of 120 Squadron based at RAF Kinloss, was among 14 people who died when the Nimrod MR2 long-range plane exploded over Kandahar, Afghanistan, on September 2 2006 after air to air refuelling.
His daughter, Sophie Andrews, pictured below, originally from Scotland, is now preparing for her final examinations in art history at the University of York.
She was just 12 when she learned of her father's death in the biggest single loss of life of British service personnel since the Falklands War in 1982 and said it would have been easier to accept if he had been killed in action.
In 2009, an independent review ordered by the UK Government accused the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of sacrificing safety to cut costs. It was described as the most devastating attack on the MoD and the defence industry in living memory. The MoD admitted negligence in relation to the blast.
Ms Andrews told The Herald in Scotland, one of The Press's sister papers: “It is like somebody dying in a house fire. It is tragic. But if it is because somebody forgot to check the wiring, it becomes something other than an accident.
"There was this façade of them (the MoD) caring for those who worked for them. But it was a façade. That’s what's really hard. It is something that always comes back when I try to explain to people what happened to my dad. It's been a long time, but it is still hard. We still miss him."
As the anniversary approaches of her father's death approaches this year, Ms Andrews has high hopes of studying for a masters degree and achieve her dream to become a fashion forecaster.
She was attracted to the art history course at York because it would allow her to focus exclusively on the subject, but faced tuition fees of around £9,000 a year. However the RAF Benevolent Fund has been giving her enough to cover them and to live on. However sometimes she has to take a part-time job like many other students, to get though the term.
She said she is very conscious that had her dad not died things would have been very different, she would probably have stayed in Scotland for university, and might not have met her fiancé as she did in York.
She praises the support she has received from the RAF Benevolent Fund. But said that for now her thoughts are focussed on her final honours year dissertation.