THE Red Arrow pilot who died after crashing on Saturday had flown Harriers off HMS Illustrious.
Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging was killed when his plane crashed at Throop near Bournemouth after performing at the town’s air festival. He had flown training missions off of HMS Illustrious off the UK coast.
Yesterday, a witness told of the moment rescuers searching for the pilot found him dead in a river.
Flt Lt Egging’s Hawk T1 aircraft plunged to the ground, ending up in the River Stour.
He was discovered with his parachute open but apparently not in his ejection seat.
John 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.
His wife Dr Emma Egging said she was ‘the proudest I’ve ever been’ after watching his performance in the skies over Bournemouth.
Colleagues described the 33-year-old as a ‘true team player’ and ‘gifted aviator’.