A Red Arrows pilot died when his plane crashed following an air show, a Ministry of Defence spokesman has said.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging's Hawk T1 aircraft plunged to the ground near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset at 1.50pm. Dorset Police said the pilot had been thrown from the aircraft and was pronounced dead at the scene

Eyewitnesses saw the plane flying low before smashing into a field and coming to a standstill with its nose in the River Stour near the village of Throop.

An MoD spokesman said: "A full service inquiry into the details of the crash has been initiated. It would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the incident at this time."

Dr Emma Egging watched her husband perform at the air show just minutes before his death.

She said: "Jon was everything to those that knew him, and he was the best friend and husband I could ever have wished for. He loved his job and was an exemplary pilot. Watching him today, I was the proudest I've ever been. I loved everything about him, and he will be missed."

Nicholas Gore, 22, from Throop, was walking with a friend close to the river when he saw all nine Red Arrows overhead following the display over the seafront at the Bournemouth Air Festival.

"There were quite a few people watching and we saw them go over but one seemed quite low," he said. "They then disappeared behind trees and I heard a crack - not an explosion - just a crack and we got further down and I saw the plane with its red tail in the air and its nose in the river."

Group Captain Simon Blake, the Commandant of the RAF's Central Flying School, described the 33-year-old pilot from Rutland as "a true team player".

He said: "A gifted aviator, he was chosen to fly in the Red 4 slot, on the right hand outside of the famous diamond nine formation - an accolade in itself being the most demanding position allocated to a first year pilot."