Two days ago, while UK Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey visited RAF Lossiemouth (under serious threat of closure now that RAF Marham has been deemed ‘too expensive’ to dispense with), a Tornado GR4 from the base flying an exercise over the Minch caught fire and crashed 6 miles NW of Rubha Reidh lighthouse (see 3rd pic in my Gallery).
The crew ejected in time and were soon plucked from the sea by the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter, with a Lossiemouth Sea King in support. Both crew are recovering in Raigmore Hospital. All concerned were delighted with the promptness of this textbook rescue.
Neatly ironic, then, that all elements involved are under equal threat: rescue helicopters are to be sold to the highest bidder and Stornoway Coastguard may also be closed (as Fife Ness and Leuchars might) ‘to save money’. Either air base that does not close will find an emaciated rescue system struggling to provide such service for their planes and pilots.