Strike by bird may have caused crash

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A CATASTROPHIC bird strike may have caused a tragic Red Arrows crash – just days after a bird brought down one of the famous team in the skies over Blackpool.

Ben Plank’s Hawk T1 jet was forced to make an emergency landing at the resort’s airport after being hit by a bird during the Red Arrows display at Blackpool Air Show earlier this month.

And it has now been claimed a similar bird strike may have been responsible for the crash which claimed the life of Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, at the Bournemouth Air Show on Saturday.

The weekend’s crash is currently under investigation, but it has been confirmed “red seven” suffered “intake damage” after its bird collision on the Fylde coast.

The Hawk planes are manufactured by BAE Systems at their site in Brough, with the flight testing and customer preparation carried out at Warton.

Today, the company has said it will co-operate with any investigations which take place into the tragedy.

A spokesman for the firm said: “BAE Systems offers its sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Flt Lt Jon Egging.

“We will, of course, assist the RAF and UK Ministry of Defence in any incident investigation in any way we are requested to.”

The Red Arrows display team are a familiar sight in the skies above the Fylde coast, taking part in the annual Blackpool Air Show and regularly using the airport as a base.

Sue Kendrick, corporate affairs manager for the Squires Gate hub, said: “The Red Arrows display team have been regular visitors to Blackpool and the airport over a number of years, most recently to display at the Blackpool Air Show on August 7.

“Everyone at Blackpool Airport would like to offer sincere condolences to the family and friends of Flt Lt Egging and our thoughts are with them and all the Red Arrows team and crew.”

The Red Arrows pilots have stayed at the Grand Hotel, St Annes, during the past 10 years when visiting the Fylde coast and general manager Derrick Holland said: “They stay here twice a year and the proprietors, Richard and Mandy Webb and all the management and staff would like to pass on condolences to Flt Lt Egging’s family and colleagues.”