London: A pilot from British military`s
famed Red Arrows aerobatic display team was killed when his
aircraft crashed in southern England, prompting authorities to
ground the stunt group.
Afghanistan veteran Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging`s Hawk
jet crashed late yesterday in a field near Bournemouth airport
after taking part in the Bournemouth Air Festival in Dorset.
33-year-old Egging, known to colleagues as "Eggman", was
pronounced dead at the scene after he made a dramatic attempt
to steer the falling plane away from nearby houses.
Group Captain Simon Blake, the Commandant of the RAF`s
Central Flying School said he was a "gifted aviator" who only
joined the team in the position known as Red Four last autumn.
"Throughout his winter training and the display season to
date, his professionalism, skill and humility have shone
through," Group Captain Blake said.
"A true team player, his good nature and constant smile
will be sorely missed by all. In such a close knit team, this
tragedy will be keenly felt by his fellow team members, the
Reds and all of the engineering and support staff, the Blues."
Group Captain Simon Blake, the commandant of the RAF
Central Flying School, said the Ministry of Defence had begun
an investigation into the cause of the crash and all Red
Arrows Hawk T1 aircraft, based at RAF Scampton in
Lincolnshire, had been grounded as a standard safety measure.
"At this juncture it is too early to speculate as to the
cause of the accident," the BBC quoted Blake as saying.
"In accordance with normal policy the Ministry of Defence
has appointed a service inquiry to investigate the
circumstances surrounding the accident and... have grounded
the Hawk T1 temporarily until its safety can be assured.
"As for the rest of the season it is too early to
speculate as to when the Red Arrows will be back on the public
circuit but suffice to say for the short term they will not be
able to perform in public," Blake said.