Home » British RAF pilot dies after World War II era Spitfire crashes | CNN

British RAF pilot dies after World War II era Spitfire crashes | CNN



CNN
 — 

A British Royal Air Force pilot has died after the World War II era Spitfire he was flying crashed into a field in England.

The RAF announced Saturday the pilot had died in a “tragic accident” near its base in Coningsby, Lincolnsire.

The base is home to the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), in which regular RAF aircrew fly a selection of World War II era planes – including six Spitfires – from May to September each year, according to the RAF’s website.

The Reuters news agency reported that the plane that crashed was a Spitfire.

Authorities responded at around 1:20 p.m. local time after the aircraft crashed in a field off Langrick Road in Coningsby, Lincolnshire Police said in a statement.

The pilot is believed to be the only person involved in the incident, police said.

The pilot’s family have been informed, the RAF said.

Several public figures have paid tribute to the deceased pilot.

“Incredibly sad to hear of the news this afternoon from RAF Coningsby. Our thoughts this evening are with the pilot’s loved ones, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the wider RAF family,” Prince William and Princess Kate said on X.

“Awful news to see the life of a serving RAF pilot cut short in this tragic event. My thoughts are with their family and loved ones,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

The Spitfire is widely seen as the most famous British fighter aircraft in history.

It played a key role in the Battle of Britain fought between the RAF and the German Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940.

According to the RAF’s website, more Spitfires were built than any other British combat aircraft before or since World War Two – 20,341 in total.

Only a few dozen are thought to remain airworthy.