Page last updated at 19:56 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

UK personnel hurt in Cyprus crash

RAF Harrier jets
The Harrier jets were on the island for an exercise

Two British military personnel have been injured after they ejected from their Harrier aircraft, which crashed on to a runway in Cyprus.

The crew members were on a training exercise at the Akrotiri base when it is thought the plane caught fire.

They were taken to hospital with "non-life-threatening" injuries, officials said. Next of kin have been informed.

The pair both serve with 20 squadron, a training squadron for navy and RAF crews, based at RAF Wittering, Cambs.

The incident occurred just after 1510 local time (1310 GMT).

An air crash investigation team is being assembled, and their investigation will determine the facts
MoD spokesman

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We can confirm that a Harrier aircraft crashed on to the runway at RAF Akrotiri during a training sortie.

"The two personnel on board both ejected safely. An air crash investigation team is being assembled, and their investigation will determine the facts.

"It would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of the incident."

The Ministry of Defence was unable to confirm whether the personnel were from the RAF or Royal Navy.

Akrotiri airfield opened in 1956 and is a permanent base for 84 Squadron, which performs search-and-rescue duties as well as supporting UN peacekeeping forces on the island.

The airfield is also used as a staging post for transport aircraft as well as for training.

The Red Arrows display team also practises at the base from late March each year.

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