Shoreham Airshow crash: Crane begins wreckage removal – BBC News

Crane at the site of the air crash on the A27 in Shoreham

The wreckage of the plane on the A27 is being removed by crane

A crane has started to remove debris from the Shoreham air crash site.

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

At least 11 people are thought to have died but more bodies are expected to be recovered after the wreckage is removed.

The organisers of Shoreham Airshow have defended the event’s safety record. Police have warned the death toll could rise.

Event organiser the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) said it took “safety arrangements very seriously”.

Pilot Andy Hill remains in a critical condition with multiple injuries

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

His family said the 51-year-old from Sandon, near Buntingford in Hertfordshire, remained in a critical condition in hospital and they were “devastated and deeply saddened for the loss of life”.

They also sent “prayers and heartfelt condolences to the families of all those affected” and praised emergency services for their response to the crash.

The organisers of Shoreham Airshow defended the event’s safety record as aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it was considering whether air show safety requirements should change.

“Pilots and aircraft must meet rigorous safety requirements,” which are regularly reviewed to ensure the “highest possible levels of protection,” RAFA said.

‘Tragic events’

“We are offering every assistance to the Air Accident Investigations Branch as it seeks to establish the circumstances of the crash,” it 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.”

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

‘Like a bomb exploding’ – eyewitness accounts

Who were the victims?

Shoreham air crash: In pictures

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

Floral tributes have been left close to Shoreham Airport and the A27

Assistant Chief Constable of Sussex Steve Barry, said the number of “highly likely” dead remained at 11 but was not expected to be greater than 20.

He said there were cyclists and onlookers in the area at the time of the crash, making it “very complicated to establish who was where and who we can actually confirm has been a victim of this crash”.

The victims

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

The CAA said it was “committed to holding a review” into current safety guidelines surrounding air shows.

In a statement, it said: “The safety standards that must be met by all major civil air displays in the UK are among the very highest in the world.

“All air display arrangements, including the pilots and aircraft, must meet rigorous safety requirements. Individual display pilots are only granted approval following a thorough test of their abilities.

“Events of this nature are very rare, but we will now thoroughly examine the circumstances to establish if further improvements can be made.”

At the scene: Simon Jenkins, BBC Sussex

The crane that will remove the aircraft is in position now. It’s about 250ft in height and cables have been drooped down from it.

They will secure the fuselage of the aircraft but that will depend on how damaged it was by the impact.

Once they are confident that is safe, it will be removed and taken away to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch in Farnborough.

Emergency services have warned people in the vicinity they don’t know what they will find, if anything, under the plane.

We are reminded again what a sensitive site this is and how many people lost their lives.

Sussex Police said the crash site is spread over about 400 yards of the A27 and extends to the adjoining airfield. All of those who died are thought to have been on the road.

Steve Andrews, clinical operations manager at the South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) described a scene of “utter devastation”.

He said: “Initially, when you see the scene… it takes you aback. It was a large scene of devastation.

“Unfortunately, there was not a lot we could do for the casualties in the cars.”

Ambulance crews treated 14 people who were injured, including Mr Hill.

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