Shoreham Airshow crash: Crane removes jet wreckage

  • 24 August 2015
  • From the section Sussex
The damaged remains of the fuselage of a Hawker Hunter fighter jet are lifted by crane Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The damaged remains of the fuselage of a Hawker Hunter fighter jet have been removed from the scene

A crane has removed the wreckage of the jet that crashed in Shoreham, but no more bodies have been found.

At least 11 people are thought to have died in the crash and it was feared more victims would be discovered.

Steve Barry, Assistant Chief Constable of Sussex Police, said searches could discover more bodies but would not speculate on the figure.

He said more than 200 people had reported concerns for missing relatives or friends.

"We have not discovered any evidence of further victims and our estimate of 11 highly likely victims remains in place," he said.

"However, until we have fully completed the search of what is an extensive scene, I must caution that there is still the possibility that we may discover evidence of further victims."

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Several large sections of the Hawker Hunter jet have been removed from the crash site

The Hawker Hunter jet came down on the A27 during an aerial display at the air show on Saturday.

All of those who died are thought to have been on the road, which remains closed.

'Things will never be the same'

Emergency teams at the site, which include about 300 police officers and staff, are now focusing on recovering the victims who were found, Mr Barry said.

The site has also been extended beyond the initial 400yds (365m) of the A27 that was first identified.

Mr Barry said the aircraft would be taken to Farnborough for examination, and vehicles and other debris still had to be removed from the scene.

Further checks would take place to ensure all victims had been accounted for, and the area would be forensically examined.

Police would prioritise the road and its verges so the A27 could be handed back to the highways authority for repairs, he said.

"I appreciate that things will never be the same again in Shoreham," he said.

But he said emergency teams were determined to provide answers to those who had lost loved ones.

Highways England said the A27 was expected to remain closed in both directions until Saturday.

A spokesman said highways officers were supporting the investigation and would then carry out repairs to the damaged road surface.

Road users are still being advised to avoid the area.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The crane began removing the fuselage wreckage from the site about midday

The aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced "significant restrictions" on vintage jets in air displays following the crash.

It said the ban on the Hawker Hunter remained in place and other aircraft would be limited to flypasts. Aerobatics will not be permitted.

The West Sussex coroner 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," said Penny Schofield.

"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."

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

Air shows

Other air shows across the country are due to go ahead, many including a minute's silence in memory of those killed in the Shoreham crash.

  • But Carfest South, due to take place at Laverstoke Park Farm, near Basingstoke, Hampshire, from Thursday, will no longer have a flying element

Those going ahead include:

  • Battle of Britain 75th anniversary show in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, near the M11, on 19 and 20 September, at which the Shoreham crash pilot was due to fly the Hawker Hunter,
  • Clacton air show, on 27 and 28 August, which takes place mainly over the sea
  • Wings and Wheels, in Dunsfold, Surrey, on 29 and 30 August
  • Durham Tees Valley air show on 29 August
  • Little Gransden air and car show in Cambridgeshire on 30 August
  • Southport air show, on 19 and 20 September

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.

In a statement, his family said they were "devastated and deeply saddened" by the loss of life and sent "prayers and heartfelt condolences to the families of all those affected".

They praised emergency services for their response to the crash.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Pilot Andy Hill remains in a critical condition with multiple injuries

The organiser of the Shoreham Airshow, the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA), has defended the event's safety record.

"We are offering every assistance to the Air Accident Investigations Branch as it seeks to establish the circumstances of the crash," RAFA said in a statement.

"At Shoreham we have always taken those safety arrangements very seriously.

"The team at Shoreham have many years of experience in running air shows throughout the UK and all aircraft have to be certificated and all pilots authorised by the CAA before they are allowed to undertake display routines at any air show."

'Like a bomb exploding' - eyewitness accounts

Who were the victims?

Shoreham air crash: In pictures

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The 1950s Hawker Hunter jet crashed into several cars on a nearby road causing a large fireball

The victims

Image copyright PA
Image caption Matt Jones (left) Jacob Schilt (centre) and Matthew Grimstone (right) were among those killed
  • Matt Jones, 24, a personal trainer, was named by his sister Becky Jones on Facebook as one of the dead
  • Jacob Schilt, 23, was part of Worthing United's Sussex County League Division Two championship-winning side last season
  • Matthew Grimstone, 23, played for Worthing United and was thought to have been travelling with Mr Schilt

Shoreham air crash: The victims

RAFA expressed its condolences to the families and friends of those killed and said its thoughts were also with people who had been injured.

It confirmed that Mr Hill was not originally meant to pilot the plane. Chris Heames was originally listed as the pilot in the air show's programme, but it was decided last month that Mr Hill would fly the aircraft instead.

At the scene: Simon Jenkins, BBC Sussex

Image caption A Brighton and Hove Albion scarf is wound round the tribute to Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt

Floral tributes are growing on the footbridge over the River Adur.

There are hundreds of bouquets pinned to the side of the bridge.

One very poignant one is directed at the two footballers for Worthing United, Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, one of whom worked as a groundsman for Brighton and Hove Albion.

A Brighton and Hove Albion scarf is twirled round the flowers.

People are spontaneously going down to the bridge that is the focal point where all the shock and disbelief locally has been focused.

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