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Thursday, October 21, 1999 Published at 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK

UK: Scotland

Jaguar crash pilot is base commander

The operation has begun to find the Jaguar's black box

The RAF pilot who ejected from his Jaguar jet over the sea is the station commander at RAF Lossiemouth, it has been confirmed.

Group Captain Alan Hudson is recovering in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, following the accident on Wednesday. His condition is described as stable.

An RAF spokesman said the senior officer had been visited by his wife as an operation began to recover his plane's black box flight recorder.

[ image: Group Captain Hudson: Stable in hospital]
Group Captain Hudson: Stable in hospital
Gr Cpt Hudson ejected over the Moray Firth after reporting a fault with the aircraft.

He attempted to return to base at RAF Lossiemouth six miles away but was forced to ditch the aircraft in the water rather than endanger nearby communities.

The pilot was picked up by a Sea King rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth and flown to Raigmore.

It has since emerged that the winchman who rescued the station commander was on his first operational mission after completing his training.

'Talk of the station'

Sergeant John Corrigan winched his commanding officer aboard, after his helicopter was guided to the location by an RAF Nimrod which was monitoring events.

One experienced pilot said: "The helicopter winchman must be talk of the station and the holder of an RAF record, rescuing his boss on his first search and rescue job."

The spokesman said Gr Cpt Hudson suffered slight cuts, bruises and what are described as "normal ejection injuries".

The crash happened six days after a Tornado aircraft which took off on a training mission from the base crashed in Northumberland, killing its two crew.

Inquiry convened

Lossiemouth is the base for the Jaguar GR1 and T2 aircraft of 16 (Reserve) Squadron of the RAF.

The RAF spokesman would not speculate on the cause of the crash and said an air force Board of Inquiry was being convened.

[ image: The pilot suffered
The pilot suffered "ejection" injuries
Once the pilot is passed fit, he will be required to give evidence to the inquiry.

The aircraft is likely to have broken up on impact and may be many fathoms deep on the sea bed.

An investigation has already been launched into the Tornado crash, which happened about 10 miles from the city of Newcastle.

It claimed the lives of Flight Lieutenant Richard Ashley Wright and Flight Lieutenant Sean Patrick Casabayo, both aged 30.

Both men were experienced Tornado air crewmen on a routine training exercise.

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