Daring Wearside solider who searches for bombs in Afghanistan

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A SOLDIER in Afghanistan has taken part in a daring rescue mission to save his comrades from Taliban bombs.

Sapper Chris Baitey, from Houghton, was part of the team called out to the Nahr-e Saraj district when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) struck a British vehicle.

The 22-year-old is one of many servicemen and women regularly sent out on the dangerous missions, with teams often stranded and at risk of being targeted by insurgents.

As part of the Counter IED Task Force, Chris and his team undertook a search of the area and had to create a safe lane so that the stranded team could get out.

All this is done while the soldiers were carrying up 50kg of equipment in the sweltering Afghan heat.

Using bomb detection equipment Chris, who is on his second tour of the country, and his team cleared a path so that a bomb disposal operator could find the devices.

The trapped crew were recovered after the area was checked for any secondary IEDs.

Chris, a former Houghton Kepier School pupil who is engaged to Laura Baines, 22, joined the Army in 2006 with the ambition of hoping to see the world.

Since signing up he has also completed tours of Canada, Belize and Jordan.

He said: “My career so far has been very interesting.

“I wanted to do something with my life and being employed as a searcher is at times tough, but extremely rewarding.”

When not on task Chris and his team also help train the Afghan National Army, so that they too can search routes and compounds for potentially deadly IEDs.

Chris said he thinks that the Afghan Army are learning a lot from their partnership with British forces.

The soldier, who has mum Carole, dad Robin and brother Mark back home, added: “They’re receptive and interested and keen to take all the lessons on board.

“Since I was last here in 2009 it’s changed a lot for the better.”

Twitter: @davidallison88