March 25, 2021 By The Associated Press
LONDON — British authorities say a Royal Navy jet crashed Thursday morning in a wooded area in southeast England after the two pilots ejected from the plane.
Devon and Cornwall Police said the pilots were being assessed at Derriford Hospital in the city of Plymouth following the crash near the Cornish town of Helston.
“Their injuries are not currently thought to be life-threatening or changing,” police said in a statement.
The Ministry of Defence said the pilots are members of the 736 Naval Air Squadron and were on a flight from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, which is not far from the crash site. The squadron uses the Hawk T1 jet, a two-seat training aircraft which is also used by the Red Arrows, the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force.
The defence ministry did not provide any explanation for the crash and said it would begin an investigation “in due course.”
Eyewitness Layla Astley said she saw the plane flying low over her house and the two pilots ejecting.
“I watched as their parachutes opened,” she said. “I then saw the plane bank left and over the top of a hill before hearing a very loud bang. There was no smoke or fire.”
Ejection seat manufacturer Martin-Baker said it was the first Royal Navy ejection in 18 years.