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Eyewitness describes ‘big fireball’ after Red Arrows jet crashes

The Ministry of Defence confirmed a Hawk aircraft was involved in the incident at RAF Valley in north Wales.

An eyewitness has described seeing a “big fireball” after a Red Arrows jet crashed following an incident at RAF Valley in north Wales.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed a Hawk aircraft was involved in the accident at the Anglesey base, where pilots and aircrew are trained.

It is understood there were two people on board the fast-jet, with onlookers reporting they saw someone eject from the aircraft before it hit the ground.

Caterer Anne Wilson works at The Anglesey Golf Club, situated at the end of the runway at RAF Valley, and saw the aftermath of the crash on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old told the Press Association: “I did not see the crash but I heard a very loud noise – we are used to the planes going over but this was unusual.

“I did go and have a look and there was a big fireball and lots of smoke… quite a few of the members actually saw it.

“They said the plane came in quite steeply and saw a pilot eject, but that it was very low to the ground when they ejected.”

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A plume of smoke rises from the crashed jet (Sian Rebecca Williams/PA)

Sian Rebecca Williams, an 18-year-old student from Rhosneigr, north Wales, said she was waiting at Rhosneigr train station when the jet flew overhead.

“The Red Arrow came over and because I’d hardly seen one before I thought ‘Wow, it’s out’,” she told the Press Association.

“From what I remember it did a loop and flew towards the runway and looked like it was about to land.

“As I was looking I saw the parachute of one pilot 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.”

The on-base fire engine drove out to the wreckage “instantly”, she said, putting the flames out before an air ambulance arrived.

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust confirmed an emergency ambulance and an air ambulance were sent to the scene after they were called at 1.30pm.

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Wreckage of the jet (Peter Byrne/PA)

The world-famous aerobatic team performs stunts and daredevil displays, and fly the distinctive Hawk-fast jets.

Based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, all Red Arrows pilots have flown operationally in frontline aircraft before joining the display team.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident today at RAF Valley involving a Hawk aircraft.

“We are investigating the incident and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

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