Aircraft

Cornwall Crash: Hawk T1 Flying Resumes

Two Royal Navy pilots are in a stable condition in hospital after their Hawk jet crashed near Helston.

The Royal Air Force has resumed flying the Hawk T1, after operations with the aircraft were temporarily paused following a crash in Cornwall.

Two Royal Navy pilots are in a stable condition in hospital after their Hawk jet crashed in the St Martin area, near Helston, during a training exercise on Thursday.

The crew from the 736 Naval Air Squadron, based at RNAS Culdrose at Helston, Cornwall, ejected from the jet during the incident.

The two-seater Hawk T1 is the same model of jet used by the Red Arrows and is among UK aircraft to be retired over the coming years, following the Defence Command Paper's announcements.

The Red Arrows confirmed that the jet has resumed flying.

"While it remains inappropriate to comment on the ongoing investigation, further technical advice has enabled the Chain of Command to make appropriate decisions on the continuing safety assessments of the wider fleet," a tweet from their official account read.

"Consequently, the RAF has resumed Hawk T1 flying."

Hawk T1 flying operations were earlier paused "as a precautionary measure, while investigations are ongoing".

Military personnel have been assessing the site of the incident, with the Air Force Central Aviation Medicine and RNAS Culdrose personnel also at the scene.

Wing Commander John 'Pez' Coles, RAF Liaison Officer (South West) told Forces News: "At the moment, we've got the Defence Accident Investigation Branch, who are the military version of the Air Accident Investigation Branch that do single crashes.

"They are the primary investigators so they are looking into what caused the accident with the actual jet yesterday."

He added: "We've then got people from the Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Section... they are the experts in getting the wreckage out."

There are several variants of the Hawk - the T2 model was unaffected by the pausing of operations.

The pilots, who were found about half a mile from the main crash site having safely ejected, remain in a stable condition "without significant injury", Devon and Cornwall Police said.

The force said the crew were treated at the scene after ejecting and were then flown by air ambulance to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Watch: Hawk has 'excellent safety record'

Eyewitness Layla Astley said: "I saw the plane flying low over our house, I heard a clunking sound, it flew on over our fields and then there was a loud crack and we saw two pilots ejecting.

"I watched as their parachutes opened.

"I then saw the plane bank left and over the top of a hill before hearing a very loud bang. There was no smoke or fire and I hear from locals that thankfully no-one was seriously hurt."

Police warned members of the public finding debris from the jet not to touch it and instead contact the force.

Chief Inspector Pete Thomas said: "This continues to be a complex scene which has been managed by emergency services throughout the day.

"My thanks go to those who responded so rapidly this morning and who have worked together effectively to progress the investigation.

"We would ask the public to continue to keep their distance from the area whilst the investigation continues and inquiries are carried out."

The investigation will be handed over to the Royal Navy in due course.

Ejection seat manufacturer Martin-Baker said it was the first Royal Navy ejection in 18 years, "with the last being Martin-Baker’s 7,000th ejection back in 2003".