Wednesday 19 September 2018

RAF engineer dies in Red Arrows Hawk jet crash at airbase

Smoke rises after a Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, known as the Red Arrows, plane crashed in Valley, Anglesey, Wales, Britain March 20, 2018 in this image obtained from social media.
Smoke rises after a Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, known as the Red Arrows, plane crashed in Valley, Anglesey, Wales, Britain March 20, 2018 in this image obtained from social media.
A sign at the entrance to RAF Valley in north Wales, where a Red Arrows jet crashed following an incident. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday MarPeter Byrne/PA Wire
A sign at the entrance to RAF Valley in north Wales, where a Red Arrows jet crashed following an incident. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A Red Arrows jet and Hawk jets on the tarmac at RAF Mona in north Wales, after another of the Red Arrows crashed nearby at RAF Valley. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Wreckage after a Red Arrows jet crashed at RAF Valley in north Wales.Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A Red Arrows jet and a Hawk on the tarmac at RAF Mona in north Wales, after another of the Red Arrows crashed nearby at RAF Valley. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Wreckage after a Red Arrows jet crashed at RAF Valley in north Wales. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Wreckage after a Red Arrows jet crashed at RAF Valley in north Wales. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Wreckage after a Red Arrows jet crashed at RAF Valley in north Wales. Peeter Byrne/PA Wire

One RAF engineer died when a Red Arrows Hawk jet crashed following an incident at RAF Valley in north Wales, a spokesman has confirmed.

"We are aware of an incident today at RAF Valley involving a Hawk aircraft," a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

"We are investigating the incident and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

It is understood there were two people on board the jet.

A sign at the entrance to RAF Valley in north Wales, where a Red Arrows jet crashed following an incident. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A sign at the entrance to RAF Valley in north Wales, where a Red Arrows jet crashed following an incident. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust said: "We were called shortly before 1.30pm this afternoon to reports an aircraft had crashed at RAF Valley in Holyhead.

"We sent an emergency ambulance and a Wales Air Ambulance to the scene."

Wreckage after a Red Arrows jet crashed at RAF Valley in north Wales.Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Wreckage after a Red Arrows jet crashed at RAF Valley in north Wales.Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Caterer Anne Wilson, who works at The Anglesey Golf Club, situated at the end of the runway at RAF Valley, witnessed the aftermath of the crash.

The 52-year-old told Independent.ie: "I did not see the crash but I heard a very loud noise.

A Red Arrows jet and Hawk jets on the tarmac at RAF Mona in north Wales, after another of the Red Arrows crashed nearby at RAF Valley. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A Red Arrows jet and Hawk jets on the tarmac at RAF Mona in north Wales, after another of the Red Arrows crashed nearby at RAF Valley. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

"We are used to the planes going over but this was unusual, it was different to what we normally hear around here.

"I did go and have a look and there was a big fireball and lots of dark smoke ... quite a few of the members actually saw it.

"They said the plane came in quite steeply and saw a pilot eject, but that it was very low to the ground when they ejected."

She said the air ambulance was at the scene "for a very long time".

It is understood the Red Arrows aircrew had been at RAF Valley for routine Hawk simulator training - something that takes place once a month.

They had just taken off from the base and were on their way back to RAF Scampton, where the aerobatic team are based, when the incident happened.

The Hawk fast jet has been left destroyed by the crash, and the condition of the two people on board is still unknown.

Group captain Nick Tucker-Lowe said in a statement: "It's with great sadness that the RAF can confirm the death of an engineer from the RAF aerobatics team The Red Arrows in a tragic accident today.

"The engineer's family have been informed and have asked for a 24-hour period of grace before further details are released.

"The pilot of the aircraft survived the incident and is currently receiving medical care."

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of the RAF engineer at this incredibly sad time."

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