Two aircraft from the UK Royal Air Force's Red Arrows aerobatic display team have been involved in a mid-air collision during a training exercise in Crete.

One pilot was able to land a BAE Systems Hawk jet trainer after the incident, but the other pilot ejected and escaped serious injury, with the badly damaged aircraft coming to rest on the runway at the Greek air force's Kastelli air base.

The Ministry of Defence declines to release further details of the mishap, but says: "We can confirm that an incident has occurred involving the Red Arrows while undertaking pre-season training."

Red Arrows
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It adds that "a service inquiry will be convened to identify the cause of the crash", but says it "would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage".

Preparing for the 2010 display season, the Red Arrows arrived at Kastelli in Crete on 21 March to participate in an exercise dubbed Springhawk. The deployment involved 10 Hawks from RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, with support equipment carried by a Lockheed Martin C-130J transport.

Information posted on the website of the British embassy in Greece says the aircraft were scheduled to fly three times a day from 22-25 March, "to put the finishing touches to their display sequence".

The Red Arrows are scheduled to perform their first public display in Paphos, Cyprus on 23 March, according to the team's official website.

Source: Flight International