Moray Firth Tornado crash: Squadron leader among the dead as names of fallen airmen released
THE names of the three airmen who died when two RAF Tornadoes plunged into the Moray Firth were released by the Ministry of Defence yesterday.
The identities of the crewmen, based at RAF Lossiemouth, were confirmed as the salvage operation to recover wreckage from the sea got under way.
One of the airmen who died was a senior instructor at the Moray air base – a squadron leader who was married with a young daughter. The two other airmen had been posted to the frontline base to train on the Tornado.
Another Lossiemouth-based instructor who survived the fatal crash near the Caithness coast on Tuesday remains in a serious condition at Raigmore Hospital, in Inverness. He has still to be named.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond led the tributes to the RAF crew in a statement to the House of Commons. He said: “My thoughts and I am sure those of the entire house are with their loved ones at this difficult time and with the fourth member of the squadron involved in the incident who is currently in a serious but stable condition in hospital.”
The airmen who are still missing, presumed dead, were named as Squadron Leader Samuel Bailey, 35, from Nottingham, and Flight Lieutenant Adam Sanders, 27, from Lancashire. The airman who died in Raigmore after being airlifted from crash scene was named as Flight Lieutenant Hywel Poole, 28, from Bangor in Wales.
All are members of XV (Reserve) Squadron, the RAF’s Tornado GR4 Operational Conversion Unit whose main task is to train pilots and weapon systems operators.
Floral tributes continued to be laid at the main entrance to the fighter base as the Ministry of Defence confirmed that Tornadoes had resumed operational flying from RAF Lossiemouth.
An RAF spokesman said: “The initial suspension was as a mark of respect for the crews. As far as the RAF is concerned, there are no issues with the flight safety of the aircraft or of our procedures.
“Clearly, the Military Aviation Authority will carry out a full review in due course.”
The spokesman added that the operation to pinpoint the location of the wrecked fuselages of the two aircraft was been carried out by military maritime salvage operations teams. A specialist salvage vessel is being chartered by the RAF to carry out the recovery operation.
Squadron Leader Samuel Bailey, 36, was based at RAF Lossiemouth and worked as a senior instructor with XV Squadron. He lived nearby with his wife Fiona and daughter Erin. His body has still to be recovered
Originally from Nottingham, Mr Bailey completed an aeronautical engineering degree in 1998 at the University of Hertfordshire, beginning RAF Officer Training in February the following year. He joined the Tornado Force in 2001, serving in operations over Iraq. He had been an instructor with XV Squadron since 2004.
Wing Commander Moreton said: “He excelled in the role and was quickly recognised as a talented mentor and trusted supervisor.
“His performance earned him promotion to Squadron Leader in 2010 and, after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, he returned to XV (Reserve) Squadron as a flight commander. He had quickly established himself as one of my most trusted instructors and flight commanders.
“The squadron’s and my thoughts are with his wife Fiona and young daughter Erin at this immensely difficult time.”
Flight Lieutenant Adam Sanders, 27, was a student pilot with XV Squadron. His body has still to be recovered.
He was educated at Scarisbrick Hall School in Lancashire before joining the RAF.
Wing Commander Jonathon Moreton said his skills had been recognised early in his career when he was selected as an instructor on the Hawk T1 aircraft.
“He continued to demonstrate very high standards and a real enthusiasm toward flying the Tornado GR4,” he said. “I was impressed with his commitment to the squadron. He was a well-liked, hardworking and an enthusiastic individual. He had enormous potential as both a pilot and officer.
“Adam was looking forward to joining 617 Squadron after completion of the operational conversion course. I am sure that the loss of this capable and much-admired pilot will be keenly felt by all on my squadron and the Royal Air Force community at large. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Flight Lieutenant Hwyel Poole, 28, was a student pilot with XV Squadron. He died in Raigmore Hospital after being airlifted from the crash scene.
He was born in 1984 in Bangor and educated locally. He had been training on the Tornado GR4 since November.
Wing Commander Moreton praised him as a “capable and confident pilot” and “infectious personality”.
He added: “Displaying a natural talent for flying the Tornado, he quickly established himself on the squadron as a very capable and confident pilot, which, coupled with his keen sense of humour and engaging character, made him a very popular student.
“He dedicated much of his personal time to others and mentored other station personnel.
“An infectious personality, always cheerful, friendly and immensely likeable, Hywel will be greatly missed by all.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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