Death of Red Arrows pilot to be reviewed

The Crown Prosecution Service is set to review the death of Red Arrows pilot Flt Lt Sean Cunningham, who died on the ground in Lincolnshire in 2011 after he ejected from his cockpit.

Lincolnshire Police submitted the file concerning the pilot’s death to the CPS, who will now be reviewing the case and are expected to decide by the end of the month if any criminal charges should be brought in relation to the incident.

Flt Lt Cunningham, 35, was injured after being ejected from his Hawk T1 aircraft at RAF Scampton in November 2011. His parachute and ejection seat did not deploy, and he later died in hospital from the injuries.

Following this incident, all non-essential flights fitted with a Mk10 Martin Baker-built ejector were grounded as a precaution, and flights resumed later in December 2011, after the RAF said it had “no remaining safety concerns”.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesperson said: “A file has been submitted for consideration by the CPS and as soon as we’re in a position to update on that, we will. We are not speculating on the matter of any possible offences.”

The MoD said in a statement: “We are aware that a referral has been made to the CPS in relation to the civil police investigation into this incident.

“It is not appropriate for the MoD to comment on such matters, any questions should be directed to the civil police and/or CPS. Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Flt Lt Sean Cunningham.”

The Red Arrows lost two pilots in 2011. Flt Lt Cunningham died in November in the ejector seat incident, while Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, died performing at an air show near Bournemouth in August, after he suffered almost loss of consciousness due to G-force, an inquest heard.