England

Shoreham air crash death toll 'rises to 11'

Matt Jones (left) Jacob Schilt (centre) and Matthew Grimstone (right) were among those killed Image copyright PA
Image caption Matt Jones (left) Jacob Schilt (centre) and Matthew Grimstone (right) were among those killed

Eleven people are now thought to have died after a plane crashed into a West Sussex main road during an air show, police have said.

This figure could rise further as police continue their investigation, Assistant Chief Constable of Sussex Police Steve Barry added.

The vintage jet plummeted into traffic on the A27 on Saturday after attempting a loop manoeuvre.

Some victims of the accident have been named by their families.

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Media captionAmateur footage shows the moment that the Hawker Hunter jet made impact with vehicles on the A27

The number of deaths was initially given as seven, but ACC Barry said it was now "highly likely" that 11 had died. A further 14 people were injured in the crash.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the aviation regulator, said it would be examining the circumstances of the crash to see whether improvements could be made to current safety requirements.

Victims who have been named by their families include Matt Jones, 24, and Worthing United FC footballer Matthew Grimstone, 23.

Another Worthing United footballer, Jacob Schilt, 23, is also believed to be among the victims, his club said.

Image copyright SWNS
Image caption Footballer Jacob Schilt is also believed to have died in the crash

In a statement, Worthing United FC said Mr Grimstone was their first team goalkeeper and "a brilliant player with huge potential".

And Mr Schilt was a "tenacious midfielder, a skilful player, with an eye for goal", the club added.

Sussex Police said no-one on the airfield was injured but the pilot - named locally as former RAF pilot Andy Hill - remained in a critical condition in hospital, having been pulled from the burning wreckage.

Whether the pilot activated his ejector seat was yet to be determined, ACC Barry said.

He said the removal of victims' bodies was likely to continue throughout Monday, and it was "quite possible" more would be discovered.

ACC Barry said a crane would be brought in to lift the wreckage of the aircraft on Monday, and that the crash site was spread over 400 yards of the A27.

The site remains hazardous, and fuel is still on the plane, police confirmed.

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Media captionWorthing United's vice-chairman said the club was 'struggling to cope'

The CAA said it would be assisting the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, which is continuing to investigate the scene alongside the police.

In a statement the CAA said safety standards for major civil air displays in the UK were regularly reviewed and were among the highest in the world.

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

"We immediately commenced our review processes and remain committed to continuously enhancing the safety of all civil aviation and will provide further updates in the days to come."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The pilot has been named locally as Andy Hill
Image copyright PA
Image caption Police said they fear more victims may be discovered

In a video released by Sussex Police, ACC Barry later described the crash as "devastating".

He said: "I've certainly not seen anything like this in my career in terms of the scale, the tragedy and the impact that this is going to have on the local community.

"We are entering the recovery phase of the operation and as we do that we are likely to uncover more fatalities but we are putting in a huge amount of effort in supporting the families and helping them to understand what has happened."

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Media caption"Lessons will be learned" says Britain's Civil Aviation Authority's former chief flight operations inspector Captain Mike Vivian

He appealed to drivers to avoid the area, saying the A27, which was badly damaged during the crash, would be closed for at least another two days.

The crash happened at 13:20 BST on Saturday as the Hawker Hunter jet came out of a loop manoeuvre.

It then smashed into the A27, sending a fireball across the carriageway.

Neil McCarthy, a friend of pilot Andy Hill, told the BBC News Channel that the loop manoeuvre was regarded as "one of the most dangerous" to attempt.

He said: "If you don't have the right entry speed, the right pull back on the stick, the G-force, the right gate height at the top of the loop manoeuvre, it can go wrong pretty quick".

Captain Mike Vivian, former chief flight operations inspector for the CAA, told the BBC "lessons would be learned" from the tragedy.

"In any accident like this where there is tragedy, it's right to review it in detail," he said.

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

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