Tornado crash pilot remains found


The remains of an RAF pilot have been recovered from the site of a Tornado jet crash off the north coast of Scotland, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

Flight Lieutenant Adam Sanders, 27, had been missing since the accident involving two jets over the Moray Firth on July 3, along with Squadron Leader Samuel Bailey, 26.

The MoD said the remains were those of Flt Lt Sanders while additional remains also recovered from the wreckage were still being formally identified.

The funeral of a third pilot killed in the crash is being held in his hometown of Bangor, Wales.

Ft Lt Hywel Poole, 28, an officer from 15 (Reserve) Squadron and based at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, died in hospital after being picked up by a helicopter.

He had been training on the Tornado GR4, the aircraft involved in the crash, since November last year.

His funeral is at Bangor Cathedral this afternoon.

Flt Lt Sanders was educated at Scarisbrick Hall School in Lancashire before joining the RAF.

Squadron Leader Bailey was originally from Nottingham and joined the Tornado force in 2001, serving in Iraq. He had been an instructor with 15 (Reserve) Squadron since 2004.

Days after the crash, Captain Ian Gale, station commander at Lossiemouth base, said there was "no expectation" of recovering Flt Lt Sanders and Squadron Leader Bailey alive.

A fourth crewman is still in a serious condition in hospital.

The Tornado GR4 is a two-seat attack jet carrying a variety of weapons and can reach an altitude of 50,000ft (15,240m).

A spokesman for the RAF said: "The RAF can confirm that the remains of Flt Lt Adam Sanders have been recovered from the area of the Tornado accident in the Moray Firth.

"Formal identification has been completed and the next-of-kin have been informed. Additional remains have also been recovered and are in the process of being formally identified.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the next-of-kin of the aircrew involved in the accident all at this very difficult time.

"The next-of-kin of the aircrew involved in this tragic incident and all at RAF Lossiemouth are very grateful for the tremendous show of public support that has been evident since."

The salvage operation got under way last week and the Military Aviation Authority says all of the wreckage has now been recovered.

The RAF spokesman said the service inquiry panel, helped by the Military Air Accident Investigation Branch, will "work quickly and thoroughly to investigate the circumstances of the accident".

The Duke of York attended a memorial service for the men at RAF Lossiemouth and tributes have been paid by Prime Minister David Cameron, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond.

Prince Andrew is an honorary Air Commodore of the station.