The Bournemouth Air Festival suffered its second serious blow on 20 August after a Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team Pilot (The Red Arrows) died after performing at the show.
Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging was killed when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed around 1km south-east of Bournemouth Airport at 1.50pm on Saturday 20 August. The Red Arrows performed as part of the four-day Bournemouth Air Festival, held across the town from 18 to 21 August.
Egging’s death came two days after the festival was threatened by torrential rains, which forced organisers to reshuffle or cancel several evening events on 18 and 19 August. The Royal Air Force (RAF) has initiated a full service inquiry into the crash.
Despite the two significant challenges, the air festival ran its course and events on the 21 August went ahead as planned with the exception of the Red Arrows, who chose not to fly. Two books of condolence for Flight Lieutenant Egging’s family have now been established at Bournemouth Town Hall and will be available for people to sign until 26 August.
Head of Bournemouth Tourism Mark Smith said the town’s thoughts go to Egging’s family at this awful time.
“The Red Arrows had performed at the Bournemouth Air Festival earlier in the day and entertained the crowds with a truly magnificent and magical display,” he said. “It was the wish of the RAF to continue with its other flying displays at the festival and the pilots expressed their wishes to continue.”
Mayor of Bournemouth Councillor Chris Rochester expressed his sympathies to Flight Lieutenant Egging’s family.
“Every account I have heard of Flight Lieutenant Egging describes him as a man of extreme bravery, integrity and honour, held in the highest regard by all those who knew him,” Rochester said.
“The RAF has clearly lost an exceptional pilot and his family a man who was loved and cherished. My sincere condolences are extended to his family, friends and colleagues.”
The Red Arrows have now cancelled demonstrations at Torbay Royal Regatta and Dartmouth Royal Regatta while the crash is investigated. The Bournemouth Air Festival returns from 30 Aug to 2 September 2012.
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