Red Arrows crash: Eyewitness accounts

  • 20 August 2011
  • From the section England

After a Red Arrows pilot was killed in a crash following a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival in Dorset, eyewitnesses described their view of the accident.

Darren Blakeman, at Bournemouth Air Festival

"We watched nine Red Arrows take off, then they did an approach from the south of the runway, they did a little display.

"After that display only eight of the airplanes landed and then there was a big siren went off at the airport, like an emergency sound, and there was a big yellow fire truck parked in the viewing area and then that rushed off with its blue lights going."

Nicholas Gore, 22, in Throop village

"There were quite a few people watching and we saw them go over but one seemed quite low.

"They then disappeared behind trees and I heard a crack - not an explosion - just a crack, and we got further down and I saw the plane with its red tail in the air and its nose in the river.

"Shortly afterwards there were emergency services everywhere."

Shaun Spencer-Perkins, at Throop Mill

"I heard a rushing sound and I saw a plane about 15m above the ground racing across the fields.

"It impacted and bounced across the field - made it across the river.

"Members of the public jumped into the water to search for the cockpit.

"We waved down the helicopter; I took off my son's orange jacket and my wife's red jumper to get the attention of the helicopter."

Mark Grogan, at nearby Parley Golf Centre

"I heard a sound like a car backfiring. Within five minutes the helicopters arrived; there were at least five helicopters including the police and two from the coastguard.

"One of the local farmers said they'd seen rescue teams pulling the pilot out of the river."

Mark Sluman, at Bournemouth Air Festival

"We watched them do the fly-past, on the runway, and then obviously we then raced round here to watch them come in ... we obviously just saw eight come back rather than nine. We saw a bit of smoke, over by the terminal.

"Obviously when they got out - normally they do walk over to the fence to say hello to us - this time they just went straight on into the buildings there, without even taking their helmets off.

"Visors up, just walked straight in."