Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Pilot crash death ruled accidental

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging was killed when his Hawk T1 aircraft came down near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset before an air show (MoD/PA)

A Red Arrows pilot who crashed in a field partially lost consciousness after suffering the effects of G-force, an inquest has been told.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, was killed when his Hawk T1 aircraft came down after performing at an air show near Bournemouth airport in Dorset on August 20, 2011.

An inquest at Bournemouth Coroner's Court heard the likely cause of the crash was that he suffered ALOC (almost loss of consciousness). Recording a verdict of accidental death, Dorset coroner Sheriff Payne described the crash as a "pure matter of fate".

He said: "What we have heard was that this was the highest and longest sustained G during that day. He would have pulled 6.3 G. It comes down to the theory that the cause was G induced impairment or ALOC. It appeared this was a rapid onset of G. It can be the case that pilots go through their career and never have any problems like this. The other eight pilots completed the same manoeuvre and yet nothing happened to them.

"Nothing could have assisted in preventing what happened. All in all, he died as a result of an accident and it is an accidental death that I must record. This was a pure matter of fate on this occasion."

Flt Lt Egging died instantly from multiple injuries that were so serious they would have been impossible to survive.

The inquest was attended by Flt Lt Egging's wife, Dr Emma Egging, and his mother, Dawn, who wiped away tears as the verdict was read out.

Following the inquest, Dr Egging said: "Today marks the end of a hard and emotional 16 months for me and Jon's family. Jon's death, due to the effects of G-Force induced impairment, was a tragic accident. I am confident that a full inquiry has taken place by the RAF and that actions will be taken to help prevent such an accident from happening again."

The inquest heard the display itself had gone well and, following two further fly-pasts, Flt Lt Egging had been at the centre of banter between the pilots as they headed back to land at Bournemouth airport. But as the formation of nine planes started to "break" - in a "flat left, right break" - Flt Lt Egging began to lose height.

It is believed that after suffering ALOC, Flt Lt Egging, who was inspired to fly by his airline pilot father, started to regain consciousness 3.5 seconds before the plane crashed, but too late for the pilot to eject or avoid hitting the ground.

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