Families wait on the fate of missing RAF Tornado airmen
THE wreckage of two RAF Tornado jets which plunged into the Moray Firth have been located on the seabed.
• Tornadoes located 25 miles south of Wick
• MOD unable to say whether bodies of two missing crewmen are in wreckage
The wreckage of two RAF Tornado jets which plunged into the Moray Firth has been located on the seabed.
The discovery was made as the only survivor of the crash – a father-of-two – was moved to a specialist military hospital and underwent surgery to his spine.
The two GR4 fighters were found near to each other about 50 metres deep, 25 miles south of Wick. Images of the planes have been taken by survey vessel Ocean Star, which is at the scene of the crash about 25 miles south of Wick.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed the discovery, although it has yet to ascertain whether the bodies of the two missing airmen are within the wreckage.
A spokesman said: “We have identified where we believe the wreckage is. They [the jets] are in 40m to 60m depth of water. There are maritime vessels which are assisting with the recovery along with a Royal Navy minesweeper.”
Alan Wright, leader of Moray Council, said: “This latest news brings closure a little bit closer for the families. It was pretty certain that the other crew could not have survived and this was a recovery exercise.
“It is good that the wreckage has been found and hopefully recovery will be made soon.”
The supply ship Ocean Star had been searching the area with another vessel, the Smit Yare, since Wednesday. The minehunter HMS Cattistock has also been sent to the site to take further images.
The MoD said the full recovery of the aircraft would not take place until next week, when a salvage vessel arrives.
The names of three airmen who died after their Tornados GR4 jets, based at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, crashed on Tuesday afternoon were released on Thursday.
Bangor-born Flt Lt Hywel Poole, 28, died in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness after being airlifted from the scene. The bodies of Sqn Ldr Samuel Bailey, 36, from Nottingham, and Flt Lt Adam Sanders, 27, who grew up in Lancashire, have still to be
The sole survivor of the crash, who has not yet been named, has been moved from Raigmore to a military hospital in Birmingham, where he is believed to have undergone a successful spine operation.
The MoD would not confirm or deny the situation, or give any further details on his condition.
The planes from 15 (Reserve) Sqn at RAF Lossiemouth, in Moray, crashed into the sea south off Wick, in Caithness,
following a mid-air collision during a training flight.
The squadron is the RAF’s Tornado GR4 operational conversion unit, whose main task is to train pilots and weapon systems operators. Tornados resumed operational flying from Lossiemouth on Wednesday after an initial suspension as a mark of respect for the crews.
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