Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Andrew Flintoff and Gary Lineker caught in Taliban attack on Afghanistan visit - Mirror

Freddie Flintoff and Gary Lineker were caught up in a Taliban attack as they visited troops in Afghanistan.

The sports heroes – in the war zone to hand out a Mirror Pride of Britain award – were in a forces dining room when an alarm warned of incoming rocket fire.

They joined servicemen and women in scrambling for cover under tables.

Shaken Ashes hero Freddie, 31, said after the drama at Kandahar air base: “I thought it was a wind-up but then I saw everyone dive to the floor. It was scary.”

He added: “I’ve have seen things over the past few days that will live with me for ever.”

Gary, 48, was hit by a second scare when his military jet lost an engine before landing safely.

He said: “Hearing that alarm really brought home what’s going on. You take your hat off to these guys here.”

Cpl Holly Percival, 24, accepted the trophy on behalf of staff at Camp Bastion medical unit in honour of their fearless efforts caring for our wounded heroes.

Holly and other emergency teams brave Taliban fire to accompany our soldiers on the battlefield.

Gary, 48, said: “Combat medics go on the front line and make quick decisions on things like amputations.

“What they do and the bravery that goes with it is exceptional. It’s above and beyond the call of duty.”

Freddie, 31 – on crutches after an August knee op – added: “I’ve seen things over the past few days I’ve never seen before. It will live with me for ever.

“You see news reports, but when you see it first hand you realise what a great job they’re doing.”

She gave Gary and Freddie an insight into the dangers as she explained how she was once pinned down by Taliban fire for 26 hours.

Holly, of Watford, said: “They were firing off rocket-propelled grenades and setting off IEDs (improvised explosive devices). One guy lost a leg and others had blast injuries, gunshot wounds, heat injuries and broken legs and I was having to treat them while being shot at.

“I remember lying on the desert floor and a bullet went past my ear. I thought I was going to die.”

Gary and Ashes hero Freddie had a glimpse of the war zone’s perils when they were caught up in a Taliban attack. They dived for cover alongside servicemen and women at nearby Kandahar air base after an alarm warned of an imminent rocket hit. Thankfully, an all-clear was sounded 30 seconds later.

For the full story click here for the Mirror website

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