Red Arrows pilot dies as his plane crashes during display stunt

RAF man who had flown missions in Afghanistan is killed as his team ends their show at Bournemouth Air Festival

An RAF Red Arrows pilot was killed yesterday when his jet crashed in a field following an air show in Bournemouth. The pilot of "Red 4" was named last night as 33-year-old Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging.

The display team were flying back to Bournemouth airport at lunchtime after a successful display at the town's air festival when the crash happened. Eight of the display team's nine planes landed at the airport, but Flt Lt Egging's jet crashed a mile away, near the village of Throop.

The aircraft came in low along a field before hitting the ground and "exploding into pieces". A plume of smoke was seen coming from the site, and witnesses said they saw rescue teams pulling the pilot from the river.

It is thought that the Red Arrows had been undertaking a final manoeuvre as a thank-you for the co-operation of local air traffic control when Flt Lt Egging's Hawk performed an arc and failed to recover.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said it was still unsure how the accident happened, but did not believe there had been a collision. There will be a full inquiry.

Shaun Spencer-Perkins witnessed the crash while on a walk with his family at Throop Mill. He told the BBC: "I heard a rushing sound and I saw a plane about 15ft above the ground racing across the fields. It impacted, bounced across the field, and made it across the river.

"Members of the public jumped into the water to search for the cockpit. We waved down the helicopter. I took off my son's orange jacket and my wife's red jumper to get the attention of the helicopter."

In another BBC interview, Mr Spencer-Perkins said: "The plane impacted, hit the ground and exploded into pieces, bits of the fuselage flying into the air. I didn't see any flames, just debris flying into the air. At which point I looked into the sky to see if I could see an ejector seat or some sort of parachute, and there was nothing."

Radio enthusiast Malcolm MacIntyre, 37, told the Bournemouth Echo that he had listened in on radio communications between the team and the control tower just before the crash.

He said that just after the Red Arrows were called to land by the tower, one of the pilots said: "Are you aware of the Mayday?"

The reply was: "Yes, we are, somebody is dealing with that."

Flt Lt Egging lived in Rutland and leaves a wife, Emma. A profile on the Red Arrows website says the pair enjoyed "road and fell running as well as travelling the world together".

He had been interested in flying at an early age, inspired by his airline-pilot father, who let him into the cockpit for take-off and landing. At 13 he joined the air training corps in Southam, Warwickshire, where he grew up.

Flt Lt Egging had been doing displays with the elite team for only three months. His 11 years in the RAF included serving on the front line as a Harrier pilot flying operational missions in Afghanistan.

This is not the first time the Red Arrows have faced serious questions over safety. In March last year, two Hawks were involved in a mid-air collision during a training exercise. One pilot was forced to eject and was taken to hospital with a dislocated shoulder. The last fatal crash was in 1988, when one of the planes failed to pull out of a roll and crashed, killing the pilot. The team were banned from any future displays, but the ban was lifted five months later.

Flt Lt Egging is the eighth Red Arrow to die in an accident since the team's official formation in 1965.

The Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said: "It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of Flt Lt Jon Egging while performing with the Red Arrows today.

"He was a gifted aviator, who was selected for one of the most demanding flying jobs in the RAF.

"Joining the Red Arrows was his lifetime ambition and he performed with great skill while on the team. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Emma and his family and friends at this terrible time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine