England

Shoreham air crash: First victims named

  • 23 August 2015
  • From the section England
Victims Image copyright PA
Image caption Matt Jones (left) and Matthew Grimstone (right) were among the seven killed in the crash

The first victims have been named after a vintage jet crashed into traffic while performing during Shoreham Airshow, killing seven people.

The families of Matt Jones, 24, and Worthing United footballer Matthew Grimstone, 23, confirmed they had died.

Investigators are still combing the crash site after the Hawker Hunter failed to complete a loop-the-loop at the event in West Sussex on Saturday.

The pilot, named locally as Andy Hill, is fighting for his life in hospital.

Mr Hill is a former RAF pilot.

Image copyright SWNS
Image caption Mr Grimstone was on his way to a game when the crash happened

In a tribute, Sue and Phil Grimstone said: "The family are in total shock at losing our dearest son Matthew so tragically at 23 years old.

"He was the kindest person you could ever meet, with a great wit.

"In his 23 years, we can honestly say he never lost his temper."

Speaking on Facebook, Mr Jones' sister Becky said: "We are devastated to say Matt Jones was one of the fatalities."

A further 14 people were injured, four of whom were taken to hospital, when the jet crashed on the A27 at 13:20 BST.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The pilot has been named locally as Andy Hill
Image copyright PA
Image caption Tributes are being left near to the crash site

Specialist recovery teams have begun to remove bodies from the scene with "every possibility that other victims will be found" during the process, Sussex Police said.

The force said it received about 40 calls from people concerned their relatives may have died or been injured in the crash.

Police have also urged people to think twice before posting "extremely graphic" images of the crash and its aftermath online.

Image copyright eddie mitchell
Image caption The Hawker Hunter is believed to have crashed after attempting a loop
Image copyright PA
Image caption Police said they fear more victims may be discovered

Ch Supt Tony Blaker said: "Our priorities now lie with supporting those who have been affected."

He said a significant investigation would now take place by police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and was likely to last several days.

The A27 will remain shut in the meantime.

"Obviously, people do need to travel and will be returning to work on Monday, but I would ask the further away you are able to divert around Shoreham the better," Ch Supt Blaker added.

People who had to leave their cars at Shoreham Airport were told on Sunday they could collect their vehicles.

Only cars could be collected because of a height restriction on the route. Police said vans, people carriers and similar-sized vehicles would have a further wait.

Image caption The A27 was closed in both directions
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The 1950s Hawker Hunter jet crashed into several cars on a nearby road causing a large fireball

Roger Smith, a former air accident investigator, told BBC Radio 5 live the probe into the incident would involve looking at "absolutely everything".

Video footage of the show will allow experts to "see exactly what's happening with the aircraft", he said.

Investigators will also look at the pilot's health records, maintenance of the aircraft and any previous problems with the plane, he said.

The plane would have been maintained to a "very high standard" despite its age, he added. "It's not just a matter of sticking one in a hangar and having a look at it every now and again."

Media captionFather Paul Rampton said the cloud of smoke would never be forgotten

Earlier, a minute's silence was held in the West Sussex seaside town.

At St Mary de Haura Church, the Reverend Canon Paul Rampton said people in Shoreham would never forget the "ominous black clouds that must have been visible from miles around".

He said people were only just beginning to know the full extent of what happened.

"There are no easy answers when terrible things happen," he added.

Prime Minister David Cameron has sent his "heartfelt condolences" to the families of those who died in the crash.


Image caption The first floral tributes have been tied to the perimeter fence

At the scene: Nick Tarver, BBC News

Unlike the blue skies of yesterday, the site is overcast and grey.

I can see two abandoned cars that were damaged in the crash and subsequent fireball - the backs of the vehicles are smashed in.

Police have put up a large cordon surrounding the crash site as air crash investigators continue their work. The police tape runs for about two miles along two junctions of the main A27 trunk road that connects the Sussex coastal towns.

It looks as though some people who were at the show yesterday are still here. I'm seeing people leaving in dribs and drabs, and I can hear a mournful bagpipe being played near the airport.

The first floral tributes have been tied to the perimeter fence of the air field.

And people have held a minute's silence for the people who died at a service at St Mary de Haura Church in Shoreham.

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