Arrows pilot killed in crash

A RED Arrows pilot was killed yesterday when his aircraft crashed following an aerobatic display at the Bournemouth Air Festival.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging died after his Red Four plane plunged to the ground in a field near the River Stour at Throop village.

Dorset fire brigade confirmed they were called to an air crash around 2pm near Bournemouth International Airport shortly after the Red Arrows team completed their ten-minute display over the sea front. It is understood that a Mayday call was issued seconds before the aircraft appeared to go out of control.

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Local resident Shaun Spencer-Perkins said: “I heard a rushing sound and I saw a plane about 15 metres above the ground, racing across the fields. It impacted and bounced across the field.”

He said two members of the public jumped into the river to search for the pilot.

A member of staff from the nearby Bournemouth Aviation Museum said he heard about the crash on the air control radio from Bournemouth Airport.

Wayne Kent, 30, the assistant manager of the Broadway Pub, said some of his customers had seen the incident. He said: “I heard that the plane went down in the fields near Throop and it bounced three or four times. The pilot then steered it towards the river.”

Kent said the pilot guided the plane away from houses in the village and from people walking near the riverbank.

Bournemouth Airport released a statement about the incident on its website.

It read: “A spokesperson for Bournemouth Airport has confirmed that an incident involving a Red Arrows aircraft took place approximately one mile away from the airport this afternoon. Emergency services are in attendance. The airport was closed for a short time but is now back to normal operations.”

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “Police received a call from a member of the public at 1.48pm this afternoon, reporting that a Red Arrows plane had gone down in Throop in Bournemouth.

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“Police, fire and ambulance all attended the scene and a police cordon is currently in place.

“The incident will be investigated by the military air accident team.”

Police continue to cordon off the crash site, only allowing people living inside it access.

The Military Air Accident Investigation Branch was admitted through the cordon last night to start work on identifying the cause of the crash.

Since 1979, the Red Arrows have used the dual control BAE Systems Hawk T1 aircraft.

According to the aerobatic team’s website, the planes’ Rolls Royce engines produce 5,200lbs of thrust and give a top speed of Mach 1.2.

They have been based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire since 2001.