Tragic Red Arrow pilot flew in Cromer carnival and Lowestoft air show.

A Red Arrows pilot who thrilled the crowds at this year's Cromer Carnival and Lowestoft air show has been killed in an accident - the second member of the world famous group to die after flying over both resorts in the summer.

Flt Lt Sean Cunningham died yesterday after he ejected from his Hawk T1 while on the ground at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire.

The 34-year-old had been in the Red Arrows for a year.

As well as appearing at the carnival on August 17 he had also performed at this year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival.

During both events he had flown alongside Flt Lt Jon Egging, who was killed when his Red Arrows plane crashed on August 20 during the Bournemouth Air Show.

You may also want to watch:

Tony Shipp, chairman of Cromer Carnival, said he was shocked to hear the tragic news of Flt Lt Cunningham's death, so soon after that of his colleague.

'You don't expect these things to happen twice so soon. They have got such a brilliant record of safety in the air and in the displays. For two things like this to strike so quickly is very much a tragedy. It's a great loss,' he added.

Most Read

'They have a huge following throughout the country and throughout the world, and in Cromer the first question you get asked (about the festival) every year is 'are the Red Arrows coming?''

Mr Shipp said the carnival committee would be sending its condolences to the team on behalf of its members and the town.

Flt Lt Cunningham's family, father Jim, mother Monika and sister Nicolette, released a statement in tribute to him which said: 'Sean was first and foremost a much-loved son and brother who will be dearly missed by all of his family, and his many good friends.

'Since his childhood Sean had dreamed of flying fast jets in the Royal Air Force; through his hard work and dedication he achieved that dream, and the pinnacle of his career was to fly in the Red Arrows.

'Sean loved his flying and we hope that his life will be an inspiration to all those who share his dreams.

'His fun-loving nature has never failed to put a smile on the faces of those who knew and loved him; this is how he will be remembered.'

In October Flt Lt Cunningham joined 18 other RAF personnel from the Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on a 400 mile bike ride from Wales to Lowestoft.

Also on the ride were Flt Lt Egging's widow, Dr Emma Egging, and three former pilots.

The group of 23 cyclists finished their ride at Lowestoft's Ness Point after four days of cycling.

The cross country ride raised more than �75,000 for the Royal Air Force Association, the Fly2help aviation charity scheme and the Jon Egging Trust, which was set up after the pilot's death.

Flt Lt Cunningham raised �700 from the ride. He was born in South Africa, moved to England when he was nine and joined the RAF in 2000.

He flew Tornados with 617 Squadron in Lossiemouth, Scotland and had flown close air support missions over Iraq.

After his death the RAF suspended most training flights of planes with the same ejector seat system as the Hawk T1, including Tornados.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus