Tributes to RAF pilot killed in Spitfire crash

Police in hazmats enter the tent covering the crash where a Spitfire pilot died in a crash
-Credit: (Image: SWNS)

Tributes have been paid to an RAF pilot who was killed in a horror Spitfire crash while taking part in a Battle of Britain memorial event. The man tragically died at the scene from his injuries after the World War Two era plane came down near RAF Coningsby, in Lincs., at around 1.20pm yesterday, Saturday.

And new photos taken today show how police have erected screens around the crash site, which was just a few feet from a residential property. The Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, led tributes to the airman following the news yesterday, who has so far not been named by police.

They wrote on social media: “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."

Others took to social media to share their sadness at the loss of the pilot and shed more light on the spitfire that had crashed. A spokesperson from The Kent Battle of Britain Museum wrote: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the pilot that tragically lost his life in the Spitfire crash at RAF Coningsby yesterday afternoon, 25th May 2024.

Police observe the crash site
Police observe the crash site -Credit:SWNS

“The Spitfire concerned was a Mk IX, Serial No MK356, which spent 16 years as the Hawkinge Gate Guardian Spitfire from 1945 - December 1961. Sadly and tragically now she is also a memorial to another lost pilot...”

Victoria Atkins, the Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle, added her tributes following the sad incident. She wrote on Facebook: I am very sorry to hear the tragic news that an RAF pilot has died in the crash of a Spitfire near RAF Coningsby today.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the pilot’s loved ones, friends and the RAF family. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is a national jewel and this tragedy will be felt by all who have watched in awe as BBMF pilots swoop across our skies at national and local events in commemoration of those who fought for our freedom. A sad day.”

Lincolnshire Police confirmed yesterday evening that the airman had died at the scene of the crash. A force spokesperson said: “We are sad to confirm that a man has died after a plane crashed into a field on Langrick Road in Coningsby earlier today.

“The man was the pilot and sole occupant of the aircraft. Police are not in a position to confirm his name but his next of kin have been informed. Nobody else is thought to have been injured as a result.

Police observe the crash site
Police observe the crash site -Credit:SWNS

“The incident was called into police just before 1.20pm today (Saturday 25 May) and emergency services were immediately dispatched to the scene. Sadly, the injuries the pilot sustained were not survivable and he was declared deceased at the scene. Investigations are ongoing into the cause.”

An RAF spokesperson added: “It is with great sadness that we must confirm the death of an RAF pilot in a tragic accident near RAF Coningsby today. The pilot’s family have been informed and we ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also paid tribute. Mr Sunak said in a post on X: “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.”

Sir Keir said: “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.”