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PICTURES & VIDEO: Canadian display pilot escapes CF-18 Hornet crash

The Canadian Forces have launched an investigation into the cause of a remarkable accident involving its Boeing CF-18 Hornet display aircraft late last week.

Demonstration pilot Capt Brian Bews was forced to eject from his aircraft during an air show rehearsal conducted at Lethbridge airport in Alberta, after the fighter departed controlled flight at low level.

He had been performing a slow speed, high angle of attack pass when the jet suddenly rolled to the right and plunged towards the ground, before exploding in flames. Bews landed just feet away from the fireball after ejecting.



In a bizarre coincidence, the public address at the show was playing the Bee Gees classic 'Stayin Alive' as the CF-18 came down.

Bews was taken to hospital and found to have suffered compression fractures in three vertebrae as a result of the ejection. He later released a statement thanking first responders and medical staff, and also joked: "Martin-Baker is my new best friend".

© Canadian Press/Rex Features

"His timely reactions and successful ejection during the event demonstrate his professionalism and are the outcome of two key elements: thorough training of our demo pilot and the survival equipment of our modernised CF-18," says Col Alain Pelletier, commander of the 3 Wing at Bagotville air base in Quebec.

Before the crash: Canada's CF-18 display aircraft
© Cpl Alex Roy/Canadian Forces

Canada had an active fleet of 72 single-seat A-model Hornets and 30 two-seat trainer examples in use prior to the accident, as listed in Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.
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