Clampdown on vintage jets after air show disaster

Restrictions put in place as toll from Shoreham crash could reach 20 once all wreckage is removed

Clampdown on vintage jets after air show disaster

Flying displays by vintage jets will be “significantly restricted until further notice” after the Shoreham air disaster in Britain, its aviation regulator has said.

The Civil Aviation Authority has placed restrictions on air shows while the authorities conduct a thorough investigation.

Displays by vintage jets over land will be limited to flypasts, which means high energy acrobatics are banned.

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

Police have warned the death toll from Saturday’s crash in Shoreham could rise to 20 as teams began recovering the plane’s wreckage.

A crane 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.

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

Pilot Andrew Hill is fighting for his life after being put into a medically induced coma, while at least 11 people were killed in the crash. This figure could rise to 20 once all the wreckage has been cleared, Sussex Police have warned.

A private ambulance escorted by several police motorcycles later left the crash scene.

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”.

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

Three people — Worthing United footballers Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23, and 24 year-old personal trainer Matt Jones — were among those killed in the crash.

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, who was on his way to pick up a bride for her wedding service but has not been named, is also believed to be among those killed.

The crash has sparked calls for safety precautions at public air shows to be tightened.

Mr Grimstone’s mother Sue has called for acrobatic displays to be restricted to taking place over the sea to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.

But a host of air shows are set to go ahead despite the disaster, and aviation experts said it would be wrong to ban acrobatic flying displays saying they are subject to rigorous safety checks.

The Royal Air Forces Association, which organises the Shoreham Airshow in West Sussex, 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. At Shoreham we have always taken those safety arrangements very seriously.”

The air forces association 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, and it was only decided last month that Mr Hill would fly the instead.

However, the air forces association said both men are highly experienced pilots who would often swap the shows they performed at.

It said: “They shared their air show commitments between them and it was entirely routine that a change from one to the other was made — and this decision was made over a month ago. The pilot flying the Hunter on Saturday had displayed at last year’s Shoreham Airshow.”

Sussex Police assistant chief constable Steve Barry said that it was possible further fatalities will be discovered once the aircraft is moved.

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