Red Arrows pilot killed at 2011 Bournemouth air display

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Red Arrows in action in 2009

Flight Lieutenant Jon "Eggman" Egging, 33, of the RAF Aerobatic Team (The Red Arrows) has been killed in a crash, shortly after a display in Bournemouth, England. This is the first fatality involving the team for 23 years.

The BAE Hawk jet aircraft crashed at 13:50 BST on the banks of river Stour, near Throop village. A witness, Shaun Spencer-Perkins, said the aircraft "bounced across the field [and] ... across the river. Members of the public jumped into the water to search for the cockpit." Bournemouth Airport closed briefly, following the incident, but has since reopened and is operating normally.

Emergency services were called to the scene, but Egging, who was reportedly thrown clear of the cockpit during the crash, was pronounced dead at the scene, local police announced. He joined the team in autumn 2010 and is the first active member of the team to be killed since 1988. The Ministry of Defence is investigating the cause of the accident.

Egging is believed to have been attempting to avoid nearby houses before the crash. Local residents, who were attempting to rescue the pilot, found an empty ejector seat and parachute at the scene, and believed the pilot to be already dead when they found him.

Amateur video

So far, there is no official explanation for the accident. Amateur footage of the accident shows the aircraft making a tight turn as part of a fan-out manoeuvre, along with other aircraft from the team. Egging's aircraft then heads towards the horizon, with no apparent radical course change or additional manoeuvre, before disappearing out of sight behind a building. All the aircraft leave a white trail of smoke behind the aircraft, as is a routine part of the Red Arrows display.