THE Ministry of Defence is investigating a photo that shows a flash of light under Flt Lt Jon Egging’s plane shortly before it crashed.

Ryan Money took the picture during the final display at the Bournemouth Airport, about 30 seconds before Red 4 came down in a field on the banks of the River Stour at Throop.

Ryan, 25, a military aviation fan from Poole, said: “There are often reflections or camera flares on them, but normally it would be visible on more than one plane.

“Why does it appear on this one? It just seems a huge coincidence.”

Ryan, a restoration bricklayer, only noticed the light about two days later. He added: “It seems like something being blown out of the engine.”

The flash is to the rear plane’s underside, near the tail. The two photos taken just before and after do not show the light.

The plane is in the standard location for Red 4 – second to the right of the lead plane.

An ex-Red Arrow pilot reportedly said the light was potentially significant but could simply be a reflection of a strobe light from the plane.

The Ministry of Defence said: “The photo has been passed to the inquiry team.”

The other Red Arrows remained grounded at Bournemouth Airport until the inquiry is completed. Military staff yesterday examined the planes on the runway.

The MoD said the team practice playing with eight aircraft and can display during the rest of the season with that number, if considered appropriate.

Bournemouth Council said around 800 more people signed the books of condolence yesterday and that more than 5,000 people have now paid tribute since Sunday.

The Pride in Bournemouth Lion outside the Town Hall is now surrounded by around 500 bouquets of flowers.

People have also continued paying their individual tributes.

Ann and Monica Browning from Hannington Road in Pokesdown put a large banner on their roof for passing planes that reads: “Thank You Jon RIP.”

Cllr Ron Whittaker from Throop is backing a villagers’ fundraising campaign for a memorial irrespective of the council’s decision on an official civic memorial in Bournemouth.

He said: “The residents of the village wish to express their thanks in their own way.

“It seems the action taken by Jon Egging avoided a major disaster and many people owe him their lives.”

Villager Julie Anne Holdey said: “I think everyone is in agreement that it must be tasteful – one lady suggested something carved from Purbeck stone which sounded very appropriate.”

The Ministry of Defence also confirmed Flt Egging was not flying his regular plane, but XX179, a member of the team for nine years, which was officially assigned to Red 5, Flt Kirsty Moore.

A spokesman said: “Red Arrows aircraft are routinely swapped between team pilots throughout the display season.”