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Formal investigation launched after RHIB deaths

The Royal Gibraltar Police has opened a formal investigation following a fatal collision between rigid-hulled inflatable boat and a police interceptor during a high-speed chase at sea last weekend.

Two men onboard the RHIB died in the collision, with the other two sustaining injuries.

The collision will be investigated by an independent team from the Metropolitan Police, the RGP said yesterday.

“For the purposes of transparency and accountability, the Commissioner of Police in consultation with the Gibraltar Police Authority requested the assistance of an independent investigating team,” the RGP said in a statement.

“As a result of which a team from the Metropolitan Police, Directorate of Professional Standards are travelling to Gibraltar to take over the investigative process.”

“A dedicated Family Liaison officer was appointed and continues to provide welfare support to the families of the deceased.”

The occupants were three Spanish men "of North African origin" from Ceuta and a Portuguese man, police said. It is understood the two dead men were both from Ceuta.

“Our officers are also receiving welfare support as a result of this traumatic incident,” the RGP said.

“We can confirm that Post Mortems have now been conducted by a Senior Forensic Pathologist from the United Kingdom.”

“As a result of which, HM Coroner has authorised the release of the bodies to the families and arrangements are in place for their repatriation.”

The vessel in the collision was a 14-metre semi-rigid hull inflatable of the type commonly employed in drugs trafficking activity, powered by four 300hp outboard engines and fitted with radar equipment.

It was empty at the time of the collision, the Chronicle understands.