Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Royal Navy Hawk T1 jet crashes in Cornwall
25 March 2021, 10:58 | Updated: 25 March 2021, 12:46
A Royal Navy Hawk T1 training jet has crashed in Cornwall, sparking an emergency response.
The pilots ejected before the crash, the MoD has confirmed, and reports have suggested the plane crashed into a field.
They have both been airlifted to hospital with minor injuries.
An MoD spokesman said: "Two pilots are being checked by medics after ejecting from a Royal Navy Hawk aircraft from 736 Naval Air Squadron during a flight from RNAS Culdrose.
"An investigation will begin in due course. We won't be providing further detail at this time."
Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft flying low before the incident.
One told The Sun: "I saw the plane fly low over our house and then there was a crack as the two pilots ejected. Parachutes open.
"Plane then banked left and crashed in nearby field. Just hope no one was hurt."
Take a seat with 736 Naval Air Squadron –filmed yesterday, one of our @RoyalNavy #736NAS Hawk fast jets flies over Lake #Windermere, down to 250 feet at 420 knots (480 mph)! The Hawks were taking part in training from Prestwick #TopGun #TopGun2 #LakeDistrict #RNASCuldrose pic.twitter.com/fhlIdLsyNn— RNAS Culdrose (@RNASCuldrose) March 18, 2021
Police confirmed they are in attendance to a plane crash, although have not yet released any further details.
Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted: "Emergency services are currently in the St Martins area of Helston following reports of a plane crash.
"Public are asked to avoid the area whilst first responders attend the scene. Updates as we get them.
"Their injuries are not currently thought to be life threatening or changing."
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesperson added: "The HM Coastguard Helicopter from Newquay is assisting with an incident north east of Culdrose, Cornwall."
Each week the Royal Navy take part in a training exercise known as a "Thursday War" - in which the Hawks are used as maritime aggressors so Naval Warships and their crew can be up-to-speed with what would need to happen in a wartime scenario.
It is believed the jet was taking part in one of these exercises at the time of the crash.
The pilots issued a mayday call before ejecting from their seats.
The Hawk T1 has been in use since 1974, and can reach up to 620pmh at sea level.
Each one can be fitted with two missiles, if the need should arise, and the aircraft can be fitted with cameras to record missions.