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article imageCrew eject from RAF jet before it crashes into sea

By Lynn Curwin     Jan 28, 2011 in World
Gairloch - Two RAF crew members were rescued after they ejected from a burning Tornado GR4 jet which then crashed into the sea off the coast of Scotland.
The plane came down in the water near Gairloch around 2:45 pm on Thursday and the crew members from RAF Lossiemouth were picked up by rescue services and taken to hospital in Inverness.
The Scottish Daily Express reported that the aircraft burst into flames at 6,000ft during a training mission.
"A request was made by RAF Kinloss to scramble a helicopter," The Scottish Sun quoted a coastguard spokesman as saying.
"This was in response to a military aircraft declaring a mayday."
Coastguard and lifeboat crews went to the scene.
A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that two people and two life rafts were found in the water.
"They were winched from the water to the helicopter and taken to hospital," the Stornoway Gazette quoted her as saying.
The Stornoway Coastguard tug Anglian Earl, which is scheduled to be scrapped as part of the plans to downgrade services, recovered debris from the crash site.
SNP MP Angus Robertson said the incident shows that RAF Kinloss and Lossiemouth, and coastguard stations, should be protected during spending cuts.
"Shutting up and selling off Scotland's military and coastguard facilities is madness," BBC News quoted him as saying.
"This rescue was co-ordinated from a centre at Kinloss which faces closure, involved a rescue helicopter from Stornoway whose station is threatened with closure, and involved a tug boat service which is also being axed."
Highland councillor Michael Foxley said this was the third major incident in as many months in the Minches and it shows that the rescue services are essential.
Images from the crash area can be seen here.
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