Union Tribune

May 15, 2002

Canadian board requests interview with pilot 

By OTTO KREISHER
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE 

WASHINGTON - The Canadian board investigating the deadly "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan has made a formal request
to interview the Illinois Air National Guard pilot believed to be involved, the board's chairman said Tuesday.

Retired Canadian Gen. Maurice Baril said the board filed its request Monday to talk to the F-16 pilot, who is thought to be from
the Springfield-based 183rd Fighter Wing. 

Baril said he did not know when the board would get a response.

He has noted in the past that the American pilot can refuse to talk to the Canadian investigators, who are conducting their own
probe while sharing in the separate American-led investigation.

Baril's panel filed an interim report with the Canadian defense minister Tuesday and posted a severely limited version on the
ministry's Web site. 

The retired general held a brief news conference in Edmonton, the home station of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
unit that suffered four killed and eight injured in the April 17 bombing.

Neither the report nor Baril's comments provided any significant information on the incident. The general indicated he provided
more details to the defense minister, but withheld it from the public report because of military classification or to avoid
compromising the ongoing dual investigations.

The interim report confirmed early indications that the deaths and injuries were caused by a single 500-pound, laser-guided bomb
"dropped by a Coalition F-16 fighter plane."

The report said the medical care provided by U.S. forces after the incident "was excellent" and "probably saved the life of at least
one of the injured."

During its initial visit to Afghanistan, the board "received testimony from numerous witnesses (Canadian and American) and
gathered substantial material," the report said.

It said the board of inquiry (BOI) has received "an unparalleled degree of support from U.S. authorities acting through the
American Coalition Investigation Board, including the recent receipt of a broad selection of evidence of direct applicability to the
BOI's finding objectives."

Baril declined to provide any details on the material the board received from the U.S. investigators. But at a news conference last
week, he indicated that it included audio and videotapes from the F-16 and the controllers handling the flight.

The general expressed confidence that the board would be able to answer the questions about how the fatal incident occurred by
the time it files its final report, which is due June 21.

The U.S. panel investigating the incident has not released any information since it was formed four weeks ago. Its report is due
about the same time as the Canadian's.