England

Shoreham air disaster: British Empire Medal for Red Cross leader

Richard Tyler
Image caption Richard Tyler said he could not remember any loud noise or explosion

A Red Cross manager who led the organisation's on-site response to the Shoreham Airshow disaster has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

Richard Tyler, 44, saw the Hawker Hunter jet go up in a loop and come down again as it crashed onto the A27 on 22 August.

"This is an award for the team because they did a marvellous job on the day. They're all volunteers," Mr Tyler said.

Eleven men, ranging in age from 23 to 76, were killed.

"We plan for these sorts of things, we hope it never happens, unfortunately it did, but the plans worked really well," the event first aid services manager for Kent and Sussex added.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 during the airshow in August

The Red Cross team worked alongside the first ambulance crew on the scene, providing first aid to the walking wounded.

Mr Tyler, from Hawley, near Dartford in Kent, said: "Unfortunately we couldn't help all the people that were there, but the 15, [or] 20 people that walked into us we dealt with.

"We then fed them onto the ambulance service for transport onto hospital."

The jet crashed in front of a 20,000-strong crowd, and Mr Tyler said they then went on to help those in need who had witnessed it.

Image copyright E Mitchell
Image caption The pilot of the Hawker Hunter jet survived the crash

Recalling the tragedy, he said: "I remember thinking 'he's very low', and then a cloud of smoke and flame went up.

"Strangely, though, I don't remember any loud noise or explosion. I turned to control and said 'you need to put out a Code Red now'.

"At that point our major incident plans kicked in. A Code Red means there has been a significant incident affecting the event."

Mr Tyler said he was very proud to have been recognised in the New Year's Honours.

"In my 34 years [in the Red Cross] I've never expected anything like this.

"Mind you I never expected to walk into that on that day. It's very much for the whole team."


The victims:

Image copyright BBC/Sussex Police/Facebook
Image caption (Top row, left to right) Matt Jones, Matthew Grimstone, Jacob Schilt, Maurice Abrahams, Richard Smith. (Bottom row, left to right) Mark Reeves, Tony Brightwell, Mark Trussler, Daniele Polito, Dylan Archer, Graham Mallinson
  • Matt Jones, a 24-year-old personal trainer
  • Matthew Grimstone, 23, a Worthing United footballer who worked as a groundsman at Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Jacob Schilt, also 23 and also a Worthing United player, was travelling to a match with Mr Grimstone
  • Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton, was a chauffeur on his way to pick up a bride on her wedding day
  • Friends Richard Smith, 26, and Dylan Archer, 42, who were going for a bike ride on the South Downs
  • Mark Reeves, 53, had ridden his motorcycle to the perimeter of Shoreham Airport to take photos of the planes
  • Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove was an aircraft enthusiast and had learnt to fly at Shoreham airfield
  • Mark Trussler, 54, is thought to have been riding his motorcycle on the A27
  • Daniele Polito was travelling in the same car as Mr Jones
  • Graham Mallinson, 72, from Newick, was a keen photographer and retired engineer

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