22 May 2024

Could this be fatal air crash parachute?

by Rebecca Hannant

A Withernsea man has found a parachute believed to belong to an aircraft that crashed off the East Yorkshire coast.

Aidan Gorman was alerted to the location of the parachute on the beach near Seacroft Road after a friend posted online trying to identify it.

He quickly rushed to the scene to collect the parachute and take it home. He then contacted a friend in the military who believed that the parachute was from a US Air Force F-15C Eagle jet – similar to one that crashed off Flamborough Head in 2020.

Aidan said: “My friend put a post on Facebook, and I asked him where it was. I went down to the beach, and I realised it was something which looked military, so I scooped it up and took it on to the prom.

“I then took some pictures and sent them to a friend in the military who deals with parachutes. He told me it’s possibly an ejector seat parachute from an F-15. I have been led to believe that it is from the plane that crashed.

“I have been told it is the parachute from the ejection seat. The parachute is attached to the seat, and it slows down the descent of the seat.”

An aircraft of this type crashed 74 nautical miles off Flamborough Head on June 15, 2020, killing its pilot, 27-year-old Lt Kenneth Allen, who was from the US Air Force 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

A report by the US Air Force’s Accident Investigation Board released in 2020 determined that the crash was caused by pilot error.

The report said that the pilot had been on a training exercise over the North Sea, and cloudy weather had reduced his visibility. Lt Allen did not attempt to use the ejector seat, the report determined.

Aidan contacted RAF Lakenheath, but he said the base did not have any answers to his questions about the parachute and allowed him to keep it.

He now intends to create a memorial display piece.

Aidan added: “I have preserved the parachute by soaking it in fresh water for 24 hours to remove the abrasive sea salt and bugs.

“Now that it is dry, I will be putting a large USA flag in a big frame along with the parachute and a few photos of Lt Kenneth Allen as a memorial to him.”