A loud bang could be heard in the moments before an armoured vehicle rolled into a canal in Afghanistan killing four of its occupants, including a soldier from Leeds.
Lance Corporal David Ramsden, 26, from Leeds, and three other soldiers from the North West were killed in the incident near Gereshk in Helmand.
They were members of a police advisory team and were travelling as part of a two-vehicle convoy when their vehicle rolled into the Nahr-e Bughra canal.
David Ridley, coroner for Wiltshire, described how the incident happened as the Ridgeback vehicle was travelling to an incident at a police checkpoint.
He said: “The lead Ridgeback vehicle had just passed over a bridge, a loud bang was heard followed by someone shouting ‘We’re going in’.”
Mr Ridley described how the vehicle then rolled down a steep bank and the four men did not survive the incident on June 23 2010.
Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton, 34, from Runcorn, Cheshire, Private Douglas Halliday, 20, from Wallasey in Merseyside and Private Alex Isaac, 20, from the Wirral - all from the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, were also killed.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Dupuy, who was the commanding officer of the Gereshk operation co-ordination centre district and whose task it was to liaise with and mentor local police, said he was aware the route to the checkpoint was an “obvious target” but his team had been unable to find alternatives because of the size of other roads and paths and their mud or wooden bridges.
He said that in the days prior to the incident there had been “increased pressure” in the area of the checkpoint with intelligence they had received suggesting it was under imminent threat of attack.
The advisory team had visited the checkpoint on the morning of June 23 but the area was quiet. They were then asked by the Afghan National Police to return again that evening after a further attack.
It was as the two vehicles headed to this second “significant incident” of three explosions and “considerable ongoing” automatic gunfire that the incident happened at about 9.40pm. The inquest, at Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner’s Court, continues.