Bournemouth Honours Red Arrow Pilot

Thousands of people in the Bournemouth area have signed a book of remembrance honouring the Red Arrow who died during the recent air festival.

Floral tributes have also been laid outside Bournemouth Town Hall.

On August 20, at approximately 13:45pm, the  Red Arrow pilot crash landed into a field near Bournemouth airport and died from his injuries.

The pilot was Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, aged 33, from Rutland.  His Red Arrow Jet suffered a Mayday situation and went down over some fields just over Throop, after completing a spectacular aero-dynamic performance at the annual BournemouthAir Festival 2011.

The Red Arrows flying high at Bournemouth Air Show (Photo copyright Ibart PetitLoup Majkut (Bartosz Majkut)B

The incident is under investigation as details unfold about the final minutes of the accident.

A source close to the Arrows, who was deeply saddened by the news and wished to remain anonymous, said: “They were all lovely and would always do everything in unison. It’s so sad and really is tragic.”

The Red Arrows performing at Bournemouth Air Festival on Saturday just before Flt Lt Jon Egging crashed and lost his life (Photo copyright Ibart PetitLoup Majkut (Bartosz Majkut)

Becoming an arrow

The Arrows, known as some of the best acrobatic pilots in the world, and the public face of the Royal Airforce had performed at the show the day before and earlier on Saturday.

The Red arrows demonstrate to millions of people around the world every year and have completed more than 200 displays in more than 50 countries, including the Bournemouth Air Festival every year.

A birds eye view of Bournemouth Air Festival 2011 before the tragedy – who knew what the weekend would bring (Photo courtesy of iBart Photography)

Reports reveal that this was Jon’s first season but that Liuetenant Egging (known as Eggman), was a very professional and admirable pilot.

The Red Arrows help more than 500 UK charities a year, contributing many thousands of pounds to a wide variety of important causes. Airshow wristbands (that happened to brand the Red Arrow and Royal Airforce colours, red, white and blue) were selling out yesterday evening as people gradually became aware of the unfolding fatality.

There was a sense among serviceman that although death is a tragic thing, in the military it is a risk and one to bear as part of duty and many uniformed officers were re-iterating the professionalism and hourability kept at that level of rank but regretted the human cost and sent deepest sympathies and thoughts out to family and friends.

Flight Sergeant Ko of the Air Training Corp and young training Air Cadet said: “The Red Arrows are all professionals so if needs be they could put on another show tomorrow with the extra aircraft so I don’t think  it’ll hinder their performance.”

Human Reaction

Many air show goers were in disbelief when they heard the news and I spoke to Jim Robinson and partner from Poole and heard their reaction,

“Maybe it was a mechanical failure because they are highly trained pilots. Or maybe it’s to do with the government cut backs, you never know. That’s tragic.”

Chris, an Eco cleaning business owner, from Canford Cliffs, said: “We’ve been at the airshow all day but this is really sad about that pilot.” He added: “It’s tragic, but death is an enevitable thing and as part of the military, they have that professional attitude and know the dangers of what they do. It would be good if they did something tomorrow in respect”

Last night, when it had been confirmed that one of the renowned and talented Red Arrows had died, a memorial shrine was set up  outside the Red Arrows display on Pier Approach in Bournemouth. Security owner, former DCO (Detention Custody Officer) and watcher of the display, Gaz Jafri, 27, told of all the heartfelt reaction he had been seeing from the public throughout the day.

Security officer Gaz Jafri, 27, guards the Red Arrow and Royal Airforce display overnight

He said: “I’m physically touched about people crying and speaking about how much they love the Red Arrows.”

“They are the elite of the elitist and the best in the world.”

“As far as I understand, he had just come back from Afghanistan, so having survived that and then being involved in the tragedy that happened today is very sad.”

“We’ve been instructed by the Royal Airforce to continue the show, however, due to the tragedy we’ve been told that the Red Arrows will be grounded tomorrow as well as the Black Hawk.”

To listen to live interviews from the Air show click here 01 Track 01 6

To watch a video taken of the memorial site click here memorial

A facebook site has now been set up following the memorial of Flt Lt Jon Egging Bournemouth memorial for Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging of which there is already 10,168 people following up from 7,650 yesterday afternoon.

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About hannahsmithson

Hi I'm Hannah. I've just graduated from Bournemouth University with a first class honors in Multimedia Journalism and am about to adventure off to the other side of the world to work in the Falkland Islands for FITV. I am excited about my future prospects in Journalism and here is my blog where I document most of my experiences. Please get in touch if you want to chat...

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