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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Red Arrows Jet Crashes At Air Show - Pilot Severely Injured

Red Arrow crashes in Bournemouth Airshow

A Red Arrows stunt plane crashed at an air show in southern England this afternoon - with the fate of its pilot unconfirmed.

The Royal Air Force jet was one of nine from the Red Arrows taking part in the air show at Bournemouth airport.

The Ministry of Defense said it was investigating, but gave no further details.

Witnesses said nine planes took off from Bournemouth Airport to perform a display, but only eight landed.

Local resident Shaun Spencer-Perkins said the plane came down in fields, near a river.

"I heard a rushing sound and I saw a plane about 15 meters (50ft) above the ground racing across the fields," he said. "It impacted and bounced across the field."

He said two members of the public jumped into a nearby river to search for the pilot, who had ejected moments before the crash.

The Bournemouth Air Festival said events were continuing as scheduled.

The Red Arrows are famous for their airborne stunts, multicolored vapor trails, dramatic flypasts and trademark diamond formation.

Formed in late 1964, the Arrows have flown more than 4,000 displays in 53 countries. Their red single-engine jet trainers are a familiar sight at air shows and military events.

There hasn't been a Red Arrows fatality since 1971, when four pilots died in a mid-air collision at Kemble, Glos, as two Folland Gnats attempted a cross-over manouevre known as the Roulette at speeds of 700mph.

The nine-pilot stunt team last had an accident in March 2010, when two jets crashed in training in Crete. Neither pilot was seriously injured in that incident.

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