Red Arrow Crash Pilot 'Found Dead In River'
PRESS ASSOCIATION -- A man has spoken of the moment rescuers searching for a Red Arrows pilot after his plane crashed found him dead in a river.
Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging's Hawk T1 aircraft plunged to the ground near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset, partly ending up it in the River Stour after completing a display over the town's seafront.
He was discovered with his parachute open but apparently not in his ejection seat.
John Dugdale did not hear the crash but was soon at the scene when a rescue helicopter starting hovering above.
"Somebody ran past me saying 'one of the reds has gone down'. I just thought this is not happening," Mr Dugdale said.
"I ran over and there was a small group of people and you could see part of the wreckage of the aircraft on the riverbank.
"At least one of the group had entered the water and was looking in the river for the pilot."
Tributes have been paid to Flt Lt Egging, who is said to have guided the plane away from houses and people before it smashed into a field and came to a standstill with its nose in the river near the village of Throop.
His wife, Dr Emma Egging, said she was "the proudest I've ever been" after watching his performance in the skies above the seaside resort.
Colleagues described the 33-year-old as a "true team player" and "gifted aviator".