Inquest opened and adjourned on Memorial Flight Spitfire crash pilot

A short hearing in Lincoln was told Squadron Leader Mark Long’s injuries were not survivable and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Squadron Leader Mark Long
Squadron Leader Mark Long (Ministry of Defence/Crown copyright/PA)

A Royal Air Force pilot who died in a Spitfire crash suffered head and neck injuries, an inquest opening has heard.

The five-minute hearing was told Squadron Leader Mark Long was pronounced dead at the scene by an air ambulance doctor after emergency crews were called to a field on Langrick Road, near RAF Coningsby, shortly before 1.20pm on May 25.

The hearing was told the 43-year-old Battle of Britain Memorial Flight pilot lived in Lincolnshire and was formally identified by a coroner’s officer using RAF identification that he was carrying.

Coroner’s officer Jacqui Foxlow told the inquest opening that a post-mortem was carried out in Leicester on May 29 by pathologist Dr Michael Biggs, who had offered a provisional cause of death as “traumatic head and neck injury” but stated that the precise medical cause of death was yet to be determined and was subject to further tests.

Senior Coroner Paul Smith, sitting at  Greater Lincolnshire Coroner’s Court, said an investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing.

He said: “I am satisfied that the death of Squadron Leader Long is one which will require an inquest.

“Plainly it is early stages in relation to my inquiry.

“It is likely to be a complex inquiry. That being so I propose to adjourn these proceedings to a provisional date of November 24th this year.”

In a tribute issued last week, the pilot’s family said he had “lived his life with an unwavering passion” and “will be cherished and deeply missed”.

Mr Long’s family said in a statement issued by the MoD: “Mark lived his life with an unwavering passion with laughter, love, and dedication to his family.

“His talent for flying was there for all to see, and his ability to connect to everyone he met was infectious. Mark will be cherished and deeply missed by us all.”