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Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
Harrier jump jet crashes
Map showing Boscombe Down airfield
The crew ejected from the jet above the airfield
The crew of a Harrier jump jet escaped serious injury when they ejected from the fighter plane moments before it crashed to the ground and burst into flames.

The aircraft had been on a routine flight over the Wiltshire countryside when it ran into difficulties as it was coming into land at Boscombe Downs airbase, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The pilot and his navigator were forced to eject from the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency's Harrier T10 plane when it was 50ft above ground.

They both suffered suspected back injuries and were taken by ambulance to the Salisbury District General Hospital, in Wiltshire.


We do not know why the aircraft got into difficulty at this stage

Ministry of Defence spokesman
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "The crash occurred on landing about 50ft above the runway. The two-man crew ejected. It was a routine ejection.

"We do not know why the aircraft got into difficulty at this stage."

Fire crews rushed to the scene shortly after the incident at about 1700BST.

The spokesman said the pair were very lucky to be alive.

"The ejection went as it should have and saved their lives," he said.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch is investigating the crash.

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