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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Jet river crash investigated
Craig Penrice (picture from Hunter Flying Club site)
An investigation is under way after a privately-owned jet crashed next to a river on the coast of mid Wales on Sunday afternoon.

The pilot, Craig Penrice, fractured two vertebrae after ejecting from the vintage aircraft shortly before the crash.

Mr Penrice, who had been returning to Exeter, Devon, landed in the water, until he was rescued by an RAF helicopter after around 30 minutes.

Mr Penrice - who tests planes at a Lancashire base - was initially taken to hospital in Aberystwyth, but was later moved to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

The Hawker Hunter F6A jet - a former military aircraft - was seen plunging into the Dyfi Estuary near Aberdovey at around 1515 BST.

The plane, which was the flagship of the Hunter Flying Club, was returning to the clubs from an air show in Northern Ireland.

The pilot was travelling alone.

Crashed jet
The jet was embedded in a field on the Borth side of the estuary

Eye witness Martin Fowls was looking out over the estuary when the incident occured.

"I noticed the plane, heard a loud bang, saw the pilot eject," he said.

"The plane carried on, veered straight up into the sky, then veered straight down and crashed into a field on the other side of the estuary."

Helicopters from RAF Chivenor and RAF Valley were called to assist after the crash, and were joined by the North Wales Police air support unit.

The plane is now on lying on marshland on the Borth side of the estuary and accident investigators have been informed.

Mr Penrice lives with his wife and son in Lytham, Lancashire.

He works at the nearby BAe Systems complex at Warton, where he test flies Eurofighters before they go into service with the RAF.

BBC Wales' Ben Thomas
"Eye witnesses saw the pilot eject and the plane crash"

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