A Hawk aircraft used by the Red Arrows display team has crashed at RAF Valley on Anglesey.
UPDATE 1839hrs. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that an RAF engineer has died after a Red Arrows jet crashed shortly after take-off at RAF Valley in north Wales.
The pilot survived the crash and is believed to have ejected shortly before the Hawk aircraft hit the ground at the base in Anglesey.
An RAF spokesman said: “It is with great sadness that the MOD must confirm the death of an engineer from the RAF Aerobatics Team (the Red Arrows) in a tragic accident today.
“The serviceman’s family have been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released. The pilot of the aircraft survived the incident and is currently receiving medical care.”
It was the third Red Arrows accident in seven years following two fatalities in 2011.
Witnesses reported the plane smashing into the runway before it “went up in flames” as they looked on in horror.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed it was a Hawk aircraft and said an air ambulance was sent to the scene at about 13:30 GMT on Tuesday.
“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 two people were on board the aircraft and eyewitnesses said they saw one figure eject from the jet. Their condition is unknown.
The jet was flying from RAF Valley back to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire when the accident took place, according to the BBC.
Howard Rigby was playing golf near RAF Valley when he heard a loud explosion.
He said: “I turned immediately to the airport, I could see a ball of flame and a multi-coloured parachute.
“Just one parachute, not very high which is a bit worrying. I immediately knew there’d been a major incident.”
— BBC Look North (EYL) (@looknorthBBC) March 20, 2018
The Red Arrows are the RAF’s world-famous aerobatic team, performing stunts and daredevil displays in the distinctive Hawk fast-jets.
In total, about 1,500 service personnel, civil servants and contractors work at RAF Valley. Aircrews regularly visit the base to carry out simulation training.
The RAF have tweeted for any witnesses to send them any photographs/videos in order to help them with the investigation.
Following the aircraft incident at RAF Valley earlier this afternoon, if you were an eyewitness, please send any photographs of the incident to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any images may help with an investigation. Please DO NOT share these online. Please be sensitive, thank you.
— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) March 20, 2018
Categories: Royal Air Force