Injured soldiers back on Swedish soil
Christine Demsteader · 13 Nov 2009, 09:37
Published: 13 Nov 2009 09:37 GMT+01:00
The first aircraft landed at Ärna airport, north of Uppsala at 19.00 Swedish time on Thursday evening.
Soldiers and military personnel were at the airport to greet them, including General Major Berndt Grundevik.
”It feels safe to have the first two back home” he told newspaper Dagens Nyheter. ”They will receive the best care possible.”
After the explosion, in which their vehicle hit a roadside explosive, the five were were taken to a field hospital located at Camp Marmal, home of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). A 22-year.old Afghanistan interpreter died in the attack.
The group was travelling in a BAE Land Systems light armoured patrol vehicle, known colloquially in Sweden as Galten ('the Boar').
Earlier this year the Boar replaced the civil Toyata Land Cruiser, which came under criticism for its poor safety record.
”We don’t want to comment on the exact safety levels for obvious reasons but thankfully they were driving a Galten and not a Toyota,” Patrik Persson, the military's security experts told DN.
An investigation is due to take place into the rescue operation which was subject to delay. The group were evacuated from the scene two hours after the explosion by American military helicopters.
The Swedish Armed Forces claim they could have been transported from the area in 25 minutes.
A second aircraft is expected to land around lunchtime on Friday with a third injured soldier onboard. A further plane has been dispatched to Afghanistan to bring home a fourth solider who is reported to be the most seriously injured.
”It is still unknown when the soldier’s condition will be stable enough for him to return home,” the Swedish Armed Forces said in a statement.
After receiving medical treatment, the fifth soldier returned to the Swedish base camp outside Mazar-i-Sharif. It is unknown as to whether he will return to duty.