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Friday, July 9, 1999 Published at 21:42 GMT 22:42 UK


Pilot survives Harrier crash

The jet came down in a field near Spalding

An RAF pilot has ejected to safety after his Harrier jet crashed near Spalding, in Lincolnshire.

The plane, a Harrier GR7 from RAF Cottesmore which had been flying alone, went down just after 1400 BST into a field.

[ image: The UK has about 100 Harrier GR7s]
The UK has about 100 Harrier GR7s
The pilot, who has not been named, is understood to have ejected just seconds before impact and was found half a mile from the wreckage.

Spokesman Wing Commander Nick Watson said he was taken to the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham with injuries "consistent with ejecting from an aircraft".

"Approximately six pieces of debris have been scattered over a one acre area of field," he said.

"An investigation is being carried out but we do not expect any conclusions for a number of months."

He added: "From what we can ascertain it is in six chunks in an area of half an acre over a 500m stretch in length and 75m from side to side."

'Plume of smoke'

Pensioners Alec and Kathleen Ginn, of Marsh Road, live less than half a mile from where the crash happened.

Mr Ginn, 72, said: "I didn't hear anything but when my wife arrived at 2.45pm she noticed a plume of smoke coming from the fields in the distance.

"The next thing a military helicopter appeared and began circling the area very low.

"It's worrying to think how close we were as we get quite a lot of aircraft in this area. You have to think yourself lucky don't you."

The Ministry of Defence later said the pilot was in a "satisfactory" condition in hospital with "no broken bones".

He was said to be conscious and a further examination was due to be carried out on Saturday.

In January, four people died when a Harrier collided with a light aircraft on the Lincolnshire-Nottinghamshire border.

And last December an RAF pilot was killed when his Harrier crashed in County Durham while on a test flight from RAF Wittering in Lincolnshire.

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