Red Arrows pilot death: Ejector seat firm to be prosecuted

Flight Lieutenant Sean CunninghamImage copyright
Ministry of Defence

Image caption

Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham died after being ejected from his aircraft in 2011

An ejector seat firm will be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the death of a Red Arrows pilot in 2011.

Flt Lt Sean Cunningham was injured after being ejected from a Hawk T1 jet while on the ground at RAF Scampton.

The parachute on the ejector seat did not deploy and the South African-born airman later died in hospital.

The HSE will prosecute Martin Baker Aircraft Ltd for an alleged breach of health and safety law.

Inspector David Butter said: “We have conducted a thorough investigation and consider there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.”

Martin Baker Aircraft Company Ltd, of Lower Road, Higher Denham, near Uxbridge, is to appear at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court, at a date to be confirmed, to face a section three charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The alleged breach is Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

HSE investigated the incident following a Ministry of Defence inquiry, investigations by the civilian and military police, and technical investigations involving the Military Aviation Authority and the Military Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Red Arrows pilot death: Ejector seat firm to be prosecuted

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