LONDON (AP) — A jet belonging to the British military’s Red Arrows aerobatic team crashed Tuesday at an air base in Wales, killing an engineer and injuring the pilot, the air force said.
The Royal Air Force confirmed there had been an incident involving a Hawk jet, the type used by the Red Arrows. Group Capt. Nick Tucker-Lowe said a Red Arrows engineer had been killed in the “tragic accident” and the pilot was receiving medical care. He didn’t disclose the pilot’s condition or release the names of the air crew.
The Welsh Ambulance Service said it was called Tuesday afternoon “to reports an aircraft had crashed” at RAF Valley, a training base near Holyhead in north Wales. Video shot by a witness showed black smoke billowing from the airfield.
Another witness, Sian Rebecca Williams, said she saw a parachute open, “and then the plane hit the runway with a bang and a crumbling noise. Then it just burned bright orange and there was smoke everywhere.”
Founded in 1965, the Red Arrows are famous for their airborne stunts, red, white and blue vapor trails, dramatic flybys and trademark diamond formation. Their red single-engine jet trainers are a familiar sight at air shows and military events.
The team has had few fatal accidents, but two Red Arrows pilots died in 2011 — one when his jet crashed after taking part in an air show in southern England and the other when he was ejected from his aircraft while it was on the ground.