AN inquest has been held following the death of a 27-year-old Whitby serviceman and father of two who was on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Craftsman Andrew Found, of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, was serving with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards when he was killed in an explosion on June 16 last year.
Members of his unit, who had witnessed the tragic events, came forward to give evidence during the inquest at Scarborough County Court yesterday.
The inquest heard from Lt Alastair Reith, who was leading a troop of 12 vehicles back from an operation on the day in question.
He explained that due to difficulties with the terrain, the unit was travelling back to their base using a different route to the one they had travelled out on the previous day.
As the Warthog vehicles moved across the desert, the first one was hit by an improvised explosive device, or IED.
The commander was blown out of the vehicle and the driver was still inside, with the Warthog left at a 45 degree angle. Both men survived the blast and were treated by medics before being airlifted out by helicopter.
The troops then needed to arrange for recovery of the stricken vehicle, which, as a recovery mechanic, was Craftsman Found’s primary role.
An area was cleared using a Vallon metal detector, which is used to check for mines and explosives, and another vehicle started to move in with the aim of towing the first vehicle out.
Craftsman Found was on the ground directing the reversing vehicle into position when a second explosion took place.
Lt Reith said: “There was no movement. I saw the medic and the dismounted team move to his body to do CPR.
“They knelt to his body and fairly quickly stood up again. It was clear he wasn’t alive.”
During the inquest, family members asked why a more specialist explosive detection team - known as Brimstone - was not brought in after the first blast.
Lt Reith said: “There was no possible way of determining whether there was or wasn’t secondary devices in the area. We were told to self recover.”
He added: “There was no time constraint. Time is never a pushing factor. If I need to take five days to make everything safe, that’s how long I’d take.”
Coroner Michael Oakley gave a verdict that Andrew Found was unlawfully killed, adding: “There is absolutely no evidence that time was any constraint here, or that proper operational directive was not being followed.”
Speaking after the hearing, Simon Found, Andrews’s brother, said the verdict had been “expected”. He added: “It’s better to hear in words from the people who were there, rather than read about it on a bit of paper.”