INITIAL investigations into the cause of the helicopter crash which killed five Hampshire servicemen indicate a “tragic accident”, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The MoD has denied claims by the Taliban that insurgents shot the helicopter down.

The Westland Lynx MK 9A craft went down in Kandahar province, 30 miles from the border with Pakistan, on the morning of April 26.

The helicopter in which the men were travelling is believed to have been from AAC 657 Squadron, a unit based at RAF Odiham which provides support and transport for special forces troops.

The aircraft went down in the Takhta Pul district of Kandahar, in what was the worst incident involving a British military helicopter in Afghanistan since the war began there in 2001.

The crash caused the third biggest single loss of life of British troops since the conflict in Afghanistan began, and brought the total number of service personnel killed there to 453.

The incident equalled the previous worst disaster involving a British helicopter, when a Lynx aircraft crashed in Basra City, Iraq, in May 2006 killing the five service personnel on board.