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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: The Job An inner city Birmingham sc...

Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments