Page last updated at 18:50 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 19:50 UK

Fatal mid-air crash victim named

Michael Blee
Michael Blee was the pilot of the two-seater RAF training plane

An RAF reservist who died when his training aircraft collided in mid-air with a glider in Oxfordshire was named as flight lieutenant Michael Blee.

The 62-year-old and an air cadet were killed after taking off from RAF Benson on Sunday.

Witnesses said they saw both aircraft nose-diving into fields at Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon.

The civilian glider's pilot, Henry Freeborn, from Lee-on-the-Solent in Hampshire, parachuted to safety.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "Mike's family are deeply saddened by this tragic accident."

Local resident James O'Neill said he heard the noise of an aircraft come very low over the house, followed by a thud.

His wife then saw the two aircraft spiralling into the ground.

'Almighty crash'

Penny Down, who lives next to the field, saw the trainer plane sweeping the top of the trees and crash down.

She said: "There was the most almighty crash and a glider just came swooping down, spiralling and hit the ground within 100m of us, then flipped onto its back."

Resident James O'Neill: "It wasn't surprising when the thump came"

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) returned to the scene on Monday.

Thames Valley Police said the German-made Standard Cirrus glider would be moved later on Monday and the single-engine Tutor RAF aircraft would probably be moved on Tuesday.

The families have been informed, but the cadet's name has yet to be released.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said it was too early to comment on the cause of the crash.

He said: "A thorough investigation will take place, and we will take whatever action is necessary to prevent a recurrence of this tragic event.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the passenger and pilot at this time."

In February, two Air Training Corps cadets and their RAF instructors were killed in a mid-air crash between two light aircraft in south Wales.

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