British airman dies after Tornado jet crash

One crew member has died and hopes are fading for two others who remain unaccounted for after two Tornado jets crashed in the North Sea, Britain's Ministry of Defence said Wednesday.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) said there was "no expectation" of finding the remaining two personnel alive after the incident in the Moray Firth off northeast Scotland.

Two airmen were rushed to hospital by helicopter following the crash involving two Tornado GR4 aircraft on Tuesday.

One of them, an officer from 15 (Reserve) Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth later died, while the other remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition, the RAF said.

The search for the remaining crew was halted last night as bad weather hampered the rescue effort.

Group Captain Ian Gale, Station Commander of RAF Lossiemouth, said the search and rescue operation would not be resumed due to "extremely poor weather conditions".

"The operation will be resumed as a recovery operation as soon as possible, but we must be realistic: given the length of time that has elapsed since the accident, there is no expectation of recovering missing personnel alive," he said.

The RAF said a full investigation would be carried out.

"The circumstances still remain uncertain but it's clearly a very serious incident," British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

by Hasan Mansoor © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Jul 4, 2012