Exmouth aircraftman was crushed to death by vehicle
PUBLISHED: 15:52 25 June 2014
A senior aircraftman from Exmouth died in Afghanistan after being crushed by a patrol vehicle, an inquest has heard.
Kinikki Griffiths, who was 20, was killed on July 16, 2010, while serving with the RAF.
The inquest into his death, which reopened today at County Hall, heard that Senior Aircraftman Griffiths was serving in the Camp Bastion Force Protection Wing.
On the day of his death, he had been tasked as part of a patrol to recover equipment from outside the base, in Helmand province.
The inquest heard that, when around 3km south of the base, a Jackal vehicle which was being used for the task had been undergoing repairs when it rolled backwards, causing Senior Aircraftman Griffiths to become trapped under the wheels.
He was airlifted to hospital at the camp, where his death was confirmed.
A post mortem report which was read to the inquest stated that his death was due to crushing injuries to the chest and abdomen.
The inquest heard that Corporal William Wortley, who had been driving the Jackal during the operation, was not qualified to do so.
Sergeant James Whitby described the incident, saying he had noticed some fluid leaking from the Jackal, which was part of a three vehicle convoy, and went underneath it to look.
He found a black plastic bag where someone had tried to fix the leak previously, before Senior Aircraftman Griffiths clambered under the vehicle.
The inquest heard there was a hissing sound which may have come from the hydraulics before the Jackal moved down and backwards and Senior Aircraftman Griffiths was trapped beneath it.
Sgt Whitby thought the leak may have been hydraulic or fuel and asked the engine to be turned off to avoid a possible explosion.
He felt the vehicle strike him and thought he may be crushed as it rolled back. He said: “I thought it was my time. I was being pushed down. I was not aware how I got out.”
Sgt Whitby said Senior Aircraftman Griffiths had volunteered to go underneath the vehicle to shine a torch as Sgt Whitby had been using both hands to deal with the leak.
The inquest is scheduled to continue until Friday.