LONDON — Hopes faded on July 4 for two British airmen missing after two Tornado combat jets crashed in the North Sea, as the search was turned into a mission to recover the wreckage.
Two Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel were taken to a hospital by helicopter after the incident in the Moray Firth off northeastern Scotland, but two more were unaccounted for after the pair of two-seater Tornado GR4 jets went down on July 3.
“The search-and-rescue phase of the mission was terminated at 7:04 p.m. yesterday evening,” Fred Caygill, spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said July 4. “We are now in a recovery phase.”
The search had been suspended late on July 3 due to bad weather, the Ministry of Defence said.
The RAF said it was investigating the crash.
“The circumstances remain uncertain, but clearly this is a very serious incident,” Ian Gale, station commander of the RAF base at Lossiemouth, Scotland, said in a statement on July 3.
“This incident involved four aircrew — all personnel from this station — and the thoughts of everyone here are with the families and friends of those involved,” Gale added.