A Red Arrows engineer tragically died after a jet crashed at RAF Valley yesterday (March 20).
The Daily Post confirmed the airman, who was flying in a Hawk aircraft, was killed and the pilot is receiving treatment in hospital.
Witnesses reported the plane banking sharply before crashing onto the runway at around 1.30pm. One of the airman was seen to eject from the jet.
Speaking outside the base on Anglesey RAF Valley Station Commander , Group Captain Nick Tucker-Lowe, said: “It is with great sadness that the Royal Air Force must confirm the death of an engineer from the RAF Aerobatics Team (The Red Arrows) in a tragic accident today.
“The serviceman’s family have been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released.
“The pilot of the aircraft survived the incident and is currently receiving medical care.”
A joint investigation between North Wales Police and the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has now been launched.
Chief Inspector Simon Barrasford said: “The aircraft involved, a Red Arrows Hawk crewed by two RAF personnel, was reported to have crashed.
“Sadly, I can confirm that one of the two personnel has died whilst his colleague is now being treated in hospital. Our thoughts are with both men's families at this very difficult time.”
He said police and crime scene investigators, supported by other specialists, will now begin a joint and full investigation into what caused the crash, led by the AAIB. Police asked anyone who saw the Hawk plane to contact police.
The wreckage, covered in what appeared to be red tarpaulin, lay on the runway surrounded by firefighters following the crash.
A spokeswoman for the Welsh Ambulance Services confirmed an emergency ambulance and an air ambulance were sent to the scene.
Two fire appliances from the on-base fire section were at the scene within seconds, tackling the blaze with foam.
Fire appliances from several North Wales Fire Service stations were also sent to the scene but were not needed.
An RAF spokesman said: “We are not prepared to speculate on the details of the incident and the possible causes.”
They appealed to the public to send in any information or pictures of the incident.
It is understood the Red Arrows aircrew had been at RAF Valley for routine Hawk simulator training – something that takes place once a month.
They had just taken off and were on their way back to RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, where the aerobatic team are based, when the accident happened.
One witness said she saw the pilot eject from the plane moments before it hit the ground, followed by a huge smoke plume rising from the area around the base.
Sian Williams said: “I was sitting at Rhosneigr railway station waiting for the train and you can see the airfield from there.
“I was watching the Red Arrow flying because you hardly ever see them, and then it looked like it was about to land. The next thing I saw was the parachute, and then the plane hit the runway and went up in flames.”
Local aviation enthusiast Wyn Evans said the aircraft was taking off when something started to go wrong.
“It continued banking right towards the railway line and back again towards the airfield. It approached the runway and two were seen to eject and the Hawk crashed on the airfield”, he said.
Anne Wilson, a caterer from Anglesey Golf Club, added: “I heard a very loud noise to start off with like a massive bang, and then just saw a huge fireball. It was awful.
“There was just a huge plume of black smoke. Our senior golfers did see someone eject from the plane.”
Charles Round, from Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, was out walking on the Wales Coastal Path near the airfield.
He said: “I was with my partner Helen and our dog heading towards the beach when we heard a muffled explosion. We turned round to see thick, billowing clouds of black smoke rising into the air.
“I walked to the top of the sand dunes. I happened to have a pair of binoculars with me and I could clearly see there was an aeroplane on fire on the runway.
“Shortly after that the fire engines turned up spraying white foam onto the aircraft.”
Tributes were paid following news of the engineer’s death. Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of the RAF engineer at this incredibly sad time.”
It was the third Red Arrows accident in seven years following two fatalities in 2011.
Prime Minister, Theresa May, offered her sympathies to the family of the dead man.
She said: “My condolences to the family of the RAF engineer who sadly died today on Anglesey.
“My thoughts are also with the pilot and with the Red Arrows following this tragic incident.”