Seven die as jet crashes onto busy road
A jet taking part in a British air show yesterday crashed into a busy main road, killing seven people and injuring more than a dozen others.
The Hawker Hunter fighter jet, which was participating in the Shoreham Airshow near Brighton in southern England, hit several vehicles on a nearby road as it crashed.
Witnesses told local TV that the jet appeared to have crashed when it failed to pull out of a loop manoeuvre.
West Sussex Police said seven died at the scene and one patient with life-threatening injuries was taken to the hospital. A further 14 people were treated for minor injuries.
News video and photographs showed a fireball erupting near trees and huge plumes of thick black smoke rising. A witness, Stephen Jones, told the BBC that the
pilot had just begun his display.
“He’d gone up into a loop and as he was coming out of the loop, I just thought, you’re too low, you’re too low, pull up. And he flew straight into the ground either on or very close to the A27, which runs past the airport,” Jones said.
The force said all the casualties were believed to
have occurred on the road, and no one on the airfield
was believed injured. It was not yet known whether the
jet pilot was able to eject or not.
The road was closed in both directions yesterday.
The jet that crashed took part in three separate air shows in Ireland last month.
Over 150,000 people were wowed by the Hawker Hunter (T.Mk.7) when it took part in the Shannon Air Display on July 18 and the Bray Air Spectacular on the following day. A week later, the 60-year-old jet flew again at the Foynes Air Show in Limerick.
British prime minister David Cameron sent his “heartfelt condolences” to the families of those who died in yesterday’s crash.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The prime minister sends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the people who were so tragically killed after a jet crashed into several vehicles in West Sussex.
“The prime minister’s thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims.”
Local MP Tim Loughton said: “It’s tragic news that it has been confirmed
that there have been fatalities and we obviously hope that those numbers will not increase.
“Given the many thousands of people attending the air show, we thank God that the aircraft did not hit a larger crowd.”
Crashes at British air shows are rare, but in 2007 the pilot of a World War II Hurricane died at the Shoreham Airshow after performing an unplanned barrel-roll.