RAF pilot who died in tragic Spitfire crash during Battle of Britain event named

Squadron Leader Mark Long
-Credit: (Image: MoD/PA)

The Royal Air Force pilot who tragically died in a Spitfire crash near RAF Coningsby has been named as Mark Long. Emergency services raced to the scene on Langrick Road in Lincolnshire just before 1.20pm on Saturday, following the horrific crash.

The Spitfire, part of the iconic Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), was mid-flight near the air station when disaster struck. Mr Long was pronounced dead at the scene and an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Sharing his condolences, Group Captain Robbie Lees, Commander Display Air Wing, released a statement: "It is with great sorrow that I must confirm the death of Squadron Leader Mark Long.

"Mark was a Typhoon pilot here at RAF Coningsby and for the last four years he has been a pilot with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. A great friend, colleague, and a passionate, professional aviator he will be sorely missed by all that knew him."

The Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, shared their sympathies via their Kensington Palace X account: "Incredibly sad to hear of the news this afternoon from RAF Coningsby. Our thoughts this evening are with the pilot's loved ones, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the wider RAF family. W & C."

Prince William held the role of Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Coningsby from 2008 until August 2023, when he passed on the duty to his wife. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also paid their respects.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak expressed his condolences on social media platform X, stating: "Awful news to see the life of a serving RAF pilot cut short in this tragic event. My thoughts are with their family and loved ones."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also conveyed his sympathies, saying: "Deeply saddened by news from Lincolnshire. Thank you to the emergency services for their response. My thoughts are with the pilot's family at this awful time."

Lincolnshire Police confirmed it was a single occupant aircraft and there was no involvement of any other parties. The East Midlands Ambulance Service dispatched a "number of resources" to the scene, including a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle and an air ambulance.

Following the incident, road closures were implemented around Dogdyke Road and Sandy Bank, with local authorities advising drivers to steer clear of the vicinity.

RAF Coningsby, known for being the home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), which features a fleet of historic wartime aircraft often seen at air shows and commemorative events, became the centre of attention. Among the surviving Spitfires that still grace the skies, only a select few are airworthy, with six under the care of the BBMF.

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond. Sign up to our daily newsletter.