On 3 July 2012, there was
a tragic air accident when two Tornados from 15 squadron RAF Lossiemouth
collided in dense fog and crashed into the sea in the Moray Firth. A
rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth went immediately to the scene of the
accident and spotted two men in a liferaft. Winch operator MACR Graham
Mavering of helicopter Rescue 137, directed his winchman and the pilots
through a maelstrom of sea spray, debris and tangled parachute lines
towards a dinghy containing a Tornado airman who had ejected from one of
the crashed planes.
After the first airman
was successfully winched aboard the helicopter Mavering then repeated
the rescue exercise to recover a second airman he had spotted in the
water. The helicopter pilots could not see the men owing to the spray
and the tangled debris.
Both men were then flown
to Raigmore hospital at Inverness, for emergency treatment. One of the
airmen died later, but the other was able to recover.
The crash caused the
death of the two other airmen in the second plane which appeared to have
sunk before either of them could eject.
A further search was made
the following day for the missing pilots, with three lifeboats involved.
The lifeboats were from Wick, Invergordon and Buckie. Sadly they were
unable to find any survivors. At RAF Lossiemouth, Group Captain Ian Gale
confirmed with great regret, the loss of two Tornado GR4 aircraft. The
planes were on a routine training sortie when the accident occurred.
At the annual SAR Force
dinner earlier this May, MACR Mavering was presented with RAF Deputy
Commanderís Commendation for his skill and coolness during the entire
rescue procedure. A spokesman said that Maveringís support to the
rescued men, continued long after the operation concluded, and this
proved beneficial to the less experienced members of the crew.
Ref : Royal Air Force
News 24 May 1013. Pictures below from RAF Lossiemouth.
Tornado jets at Lossiemouth