Shoreham crash: Aerobatics by vintage jets banned

Football club ground staff arrive to pay their tributes. Picture: AP
Football club ground staff arrive to pay their tributes. Picture: AP
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FLYING displays by vintage jets will be “significantly restricted until further notice” following the Shoreham air disaster, it has been confirmed.

Aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has placed new restrictions on air shows while the authorities conduct a thorough investigation.

We must very carefully remove the remains

Coroner Penny Schofield

Displays by vintage jet aircraft over land will be limited to flypasts, which means “high energy” aerobatics will not be permitted.

A statement by the regulator added: “The CAA will conduct additional risk assessments on all forthcoming civil air displays to establish if additional measures should be introduced.”

The CAA said it took steps on the day of the crash to ensure no further flights were made by Hawker Hunter aircraft, and this condition remains in place.

Such restrictions come as police warned that the death toll from Saturday’s crash could rise to 20 as teams begin recovering the plane’s wreckage.

West Sussex coroner Penny Schofield said identifying the victims of the crash would be a slow and painstaking operation.

“The fire was so intense and the scale of the damage so vast, it means that we must very carefully remove the remains in a way that will lead to a formal identification,” she said.

“Once the formal identification process is complete I will open the inquests and the deceased will be released to their families for funerals to take place.”

A crane has moved in to lift debris scattered when the 1950s Hawker Hunter jet plummeted on to the A27 after failing to pull out of a loop-the-loop stunt.

Books of condolence have been opened by three local authorities and the flag is flying at half-mast at Chichester County Hall.

Andrew Hill, the pilot of the crashed jet, has been put in a medically-induced coma.

The 51-year-old from Sandon, near Buntingford in Hertfordshire, remains in a critical condition in hospital. It has emerged that he was not originally meant to pilot the plane.

Chris Heames was originally listed as the pilot in the air show’s programme, but the event conflicted with a family holiday in Cambodia.

Mr Hill’s family said they are “devastated and deeply saddened for the loss of life” and they send their “prayers and heartfelt condolences to the families of all those affected at this difficult time”.

Other victims include Matt Jones, 24, a personal trainer, who was named by his sister Becky Jones on Facebook as one of the dead.

Jacob Schilt, 23, and Matthew Grimstone, 23, were both part of Worthing United’s Sussex County League Division Two championship-winning side and were travelling to play an away match against Loxwood.

Motorcyclist Mark Trussler, from Worthing, is missing, while fears have also been raised over Daniele Polito, a father from Worthing who was travelling in the same car as Mr Jones when the plane crashed.

The driver of a Daimler wedding car, Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton, who was on his way to pick up a bride for her wedding service has also been identified as being among those killed.

There have been ten fatalities resulting from UK air shows since 2000, all involving aircraft personnel. There had been no third-party fatalities on the ground up until the Shoreham accident.

Video footage shows the plane crashing to the ground and exploding into a fireball as it ploughed into cars on the busy road.

The Royal Air Forces Association, organiser of the Shoreham Airshow, defended its safety record and said standards at air displays in Britain “are among the very highest in the world”.

It added: “All air display arrangements, including the pilots and aircraft, must meet rigorous safety requirements and are regularly reviewed to ensure they provide the highest possible levels of protection.