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Ejector seat firm to be prosecuted over Red Arrows pilot death

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An ejector seat manufacturer is to be prosecuted over the death of Red Arrows pilot Sean Cunningham, the Health and Safety Executive said, reported Sky News.

Flight Lieutenant Cunningham, 35, died after his ejector seat initiated during pre-flight checks of his Hawk XX177 jet at RAF Scampton in November 2011.

The jet was on the ground and stationary at the time of the incident at the Lincolnshire base.

Martin Baker Aircraft Ltd will be prosecuted over an alleged breach of health and safety law.

Health and Safety Executive 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."

HSE investigated the incident following a Ministry of Defence inquiry and probes by the civilian and military police.

Technical investigations were also carried out by the Military Aviation Authority and the Military Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Martin Baker Aircraft Company Ltd, based in Higher Denham, Buckinghamshire, has been charged over an alleged breach of section three of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company will appear at Lincoln Magistrates' Court on a date to be confirmed.

Flt Lt Cunningham was described as a "charming, professional and dedicated" pilot during his funeral at Coventry Cathedral.


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