AN INVESTIGATION has been launched to find out why a Lynx helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, killing five British personnel, four of whom were from RAF Odiham.

Investigators from the Military Aviation Authority have cordoned off the site in southern Afghanistan, near Kandahar, following the crash yesterday which claimed the lives of three servicemen from the Army Air Corps at RAF Odiham, a Royal Air Force serviceman also stationed at the base, and a member of the Army Reserve from 3 Military Intelligence Battalion, in London.

The Ministry of Defence has dispelled claims from the Taliban that insurgents shot down the helicopter, and has said that the crash may have been caused by technical problems during the routine flight.

Reports have suggested that the investigation will examine the aircraft’s log books, weather conditions and whether the helicopter was carrying out an authorised job in keeping with its capabilities.

A spokeswoman told Sky News: “The investigation is now under way, and the area of the crash has been cordoned off.

“We cannot go into further details. At this stage it is not known how long the investigation might last or when investigators will deliver their report, but it will be a thorough inquiry.”

Flowers have been left at RAF Odiham and flags have flown at half-mast at the base. Prime Minister David Cameron led tributes to the men who died in the crash, whose families have been told.

He said: “I cannot pay high enough tribute to each and every one of them for the job that they do and the sacrifices that they make.”