Launch: 24th October 2006
Tuesday 24 October 2006
Author: Ben Hardaker
Aircraft crash sparks search.
An RAF Tornado GR4 crashed in the Wash near the Holbeach practise bombing range around 11am on Tuesday October 24th and sparked a full-scale search. The Skegness all weather lifeboat Lincolnshire Poacher joined the Hunstanton lifeboat and two RAF air sea rescue helicopters from Wattisham and Leconfield in the search for the two crew members.
Both Tornado crew members escaped to safety by using their ejector seats after ensuring that their aircraft would come down on mud flats and the helicopters picked them up shortly afterwards. They were able to use their rescue dinghies and not seriously injured.
They were taken first to Kings Lynn hospital for a check up and then on to a spinal injuries unit – standard practise when ejector seats have been used. They were reported as being in fine condition later in the day.
During the rescue the two lifeboats were tasked to provide an exclusion zone around the Tornado but this was not needed as the drama unfolded and they were stood down by Yarmouth Coastguard on the advice of the RAF and returned to station.