November 22, 2011 11.15 am This story is over 120 months old

Inquest adjourned into Red Arrows pilot death

Investigation: Coroner Stuart Fisher opened and adjourned his inquest into the tragic death of Red Arrows Pilot Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham.

— Updated with coroner results details and funeral date

Lincolnshire Police is investigating the circumstances of the tragic death of Red Arrows Pilot Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham.

HM Coroner Stuart Fisher opened and adjourned his inquest on November 22.

Thirty-four year-old Cunningham died in hospital on November 8 after a serious incident on the ground at RAF Scampton, near Lincoln.

The incident happened on the base at around 11.18am, when his ejector seat fired whilst the aircraft was still on the ground.

The inquest found the main parachute didn’t deploy and the pilot was not separated from his seat during the incident.

He landed on the ground still strapped to the ejector seat. Cunningham was confirmed dead at Lincoln County Hospital A&E at 12.14pm.

A post mortem found the cause of death multiple injuries due to a fall from height after ejection from an aircraft; toxicology tests came back negative.

His funeral will take place at 10.30am on December 1 at Coventry Cathedral, followed by a private family cremation.

Cunningham’s death came just weeks after Red Arrows pilot Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging (33) died when his aircraft crashed at a display in Bournemouth.

As is standard practice in the case of a death in unusual circumstances, Lincolnshire Police will continue to lead the investigation under Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Shaun West.

The investigation will aim to establish the facts surrounding the incident, and details will be reported back to the Coroner in due course.

Lincolnshire Police said in a statement: “Our sincere condolences go to the relatives and friends of Sean, who are being supported by a Family Liaison Officer.”

The aircraft involved after the incident. The front section of the canopy is missing, showing that the ejector seat was activated. Photo: Steve Hill
Source: Lincolnshire Police

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