Firm denies Red Arrows pilot ejection seat death

Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham Image copyright Ministry of Defence
Image caption Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham died after being ejected from his aircraft in 2011

An ejection seat firm has denied breaching health and safety laws over the death of a Red Arrows pilot.

Flt Lt Sean Cunningham, 35, was ejected from a Hawk T1 jet at RAF Scampton on 8 November, 2011.

The parachute on the seat did not deploy and the South African-born airman was fatally injured.

Martin-Baker Aircraft Ltd pleaded not guilty at Lincoln Crown Court to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

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The experienced pilot and Iraq war veteran had initiated the ejector seat during pre-flight checks at the Lincolnshire airbase.

The Health and Safety Executive brought the prosecution against the company following his death.

Members of Mr Cunningham's family sat in the courtroom and watched as the plea was entered by the firm, based in Higher Denham, near Uxbridge.

The full charge 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."

A trial date was set for 22 January, 2018.

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