Freak tyre accident kills Suffolk officer

A SUFFOLK air force officer who had only just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan died on holiday when a tyre exploded inside her sports car.

Captain Jenna Wilcox, 27, was on a break with her husband in Scotland when the freak accident happened.

It is thought the couple had changed the wheel after noticing a bulge in the tyre.

They replaced it with the space saver tyre but could not fit the full size one in the boot because it was full of luggage.

Capt Wilcox, of the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron based at RAF Mildenhall, sat with it on her lap inside the BMW Z3 car.

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The cause of the explosion is currently under investigation.

She died at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh last night, five days after the accident.

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Her 27-year-old husband - Capt Scott Wilcox, who serves with the 48th Civil Engineer Squadron at RAF Lakenheath - suffered minor injuries in the explosion, which happened in Edinburgh Road, Dalkeith, Midlothian, at around 6pm last Saturday.

The couple, who are both American, had driven to Scotland in their own car.

Capt Wilcox had only recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. During the tour, Capt Wilcox wrote a personal internet-based diary charting her thoughts and feelings about her time in Afghanistan and to stay in touch with her family.

Her last entry was posted just days ago - on March 21. She wrote: “This will be my last entry. Both Scott and I are home, safe and sound and I no longer have a reason to continue with this blog.

“There were several purposes for this blog. The first and foremost was to share my experiences with family and friends. I also wanted to let people know about the military and what we experience in a combat zone.”

In her penultimate post, Capt Wilcox said: “At times I have felt selfish.

“The deployment is not over until you are home and once again ‘normal’, if this nebulous ‘normal’ state can ever be achieved. Because the fact is, you’ve been in a war zone and you have changed.”

Colonel Chad Manske, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy.

“Jenna was a valued member of our team and her untimely death touches all the personnel at the surrounding bases.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and co-workers during this difficult time.”

A police spokesman said: “Inquiries are ongoing to establish the cause of explosion, however this would appear to have been a tragic accident.

“A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in due course.”

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