Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 17:43 UK

Two killed in RAF Tornado crash

Crash scene
Investigators have been examining wreckage at the crash scene

Two RAF air crew have been killed after a Tornado jet crashed during a training flight in Argyll.

The plane came down on a hillside near the Rest and Be Thankful beauty spot in Glen Kinglass, near Arrochar, at about 1145 BST.

The Ministry of Defence said that the Tornado F3 was based at RAF Leuchars in Fife and that next of kin had been informed.

No civilians are thought to have been hurt in the crash.

The Ministry of Defence said the aircraft had crashed during a routine training flight in Glen Kinglass and the circumstances were being investigated.

A spokesman said that it was with "deep regret" the MoD could confirm the deaths of two RAF crew from 43 Squadron, RAF Leuchars.

Campers at the Ardgarten caravan site said they saw two planes flying low

He added: "The next of kin have been informed and have requested a period of 24 hours grace before further details are released.

"At the moment our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues of the two aircrew who lost their lives today.

"The crash is being investigated at the moment. There will be a service inquiry held by the RAF."

RAF Squadron leader Paul Lipscombe spoke to the BBC near the crash scene.

"We are very much in the early stages of securing the area and recovering the situation," he said.

"I can confirm that it was a two aircraft mission and the other aircraft returned safely to RAF Leuchers."

Ambulance specialist operations crews, Strathclyde Police officers and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue teams were at the scene, near the A83 at Cairndow.

October 2006 - Two airmen eject safely as a Tornado from RAF Marham in Norfolk crashes into the Wash
October 2005 - A crew from Leuchars eject from their Tornado F3 moments before it plunges into the North Sea off the coast St Andrews
February 2005 - Two Tornado pilots walk away from a 165mph crash landing at RAF Lossiemouth
December 2003 - Tornado F3 crash lands at RAF Leuchars after the undercarriage fails to lower
November 1999 - A Tornado F3 crashes into the North Sea close to Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian

A Strathclyde Fire and Rescue spokesman said: "Five fire appliances, two major incident units with heavy rescue equipment and a technical support unit to deal with any potential hazardous materials and to minimise any environmental impact were mobilised as a result.

"Strathclyde Fire and Rescue personnel are working alongside personnel from the RAF, the police and ambulance services to deal with this incident."

Morag Campbell, from Arrochar, was with her partner when two jets passed over the village just before lunchtime.

"They were very, very low just above the tree line," she said.

"There was a terrible noise after they flew up the Rest and be Thankful and we both said at the time that it sounded like one of them had crashed.

"We couldn't believe it when we suddenly saw all the emergency services speeding through our village.

"I must say though that it was the lowest that I had seen jets travel through this area."

Sue Oliver, who works at Forest Holidays Campsite at Ardgarten, just past Arrochar, told the BBC the crash happened just before midday.

Tornado F3
The Tornado F3 was based at RAF Leuchars in Fife

She heard two planes flying overhead between 1130 and 1200 BST.

Ms Oliver said a short time later someone came in to the site and told her there had been a crash.

Frances Bremner from Cairndow, a village to the west of Arrochar, described how she heard jets overhead.

"From about 11am this morning we at Loch Fyne Oysters have listened to these jets flying over and over again," she said.

"My daughter at home saw two jets go over the back of our hill at Cairndow. One was very high but the second very low and she said she hoped it would make it over the hill as it was so low.

"This area is known to have these jets fly over and they do seem to fly very low but you assume they know what they are doing and how risky it is. I hope the crew had time to get out."

Training exercises

The weather in the area at the time of the crash was said to be overcast with thick clouds.

Andy Graham, 60, a retired rigger who moved to Arrochar three years ago, said he saw two Tornados flying low in the area around lunchtime.

He said: "We get jets flying over here on training exercises quite regularly. It's not unusual to see them and you definitely hear them.

"But today they seemed to be flying much lower than normal. We watched them fly along the loch, up through the glen and towards the Rest And Be Thankful."

The Rest and Be Thankful is a tourist spot on the A83 Arrochar to Inveraray Road, north west of Loch Lomond.

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Argyllshire Advertiser RAF Tornado crashes near Rest and Be Thankful - 6 hrs ago
The Courier Tributes to airmen killed on exercise - 8 hrs ago
Glasgow Herald Tributes to RAF airmen killed in jet crash - 10 hrs ago
Telegraph RAF mourns Tornado crash - 12 hrs ago
Galloway Gazette RAF mourns air crew after crash - 19 hrs ago

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