Essex

Shoreham crash does not deter Clacton Airshow spectators

Red Arrows at Clacton Air Show Image copyright Tending District Council
Image caption Clacton Airshow is the first major event to take place in the wake of Shoreham plane crash

The devastation caused by the Shoreham plane crash is still sinking in for many people. Less than a week later, spectators are gathering for the country's first major air show since the disaster - to what extent are the events of Shoreham playing on their minds?

Up to 100,000 people a day are expected to attend this year's Clacton Airshow.

Now in its 24th year, the two-day event takes place place predominantly over the waters of Essex's northern coastline.

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Media captionOne spectator told the BBC's Andy Moore ''I've got no problem bringing my kids to something like this''

And that is something at the forefront of visitors' minds as they stand to watch vintage planes take to the skies, daring aerobatic displays and flypasts.

"We have thought about what happened last weekend, but as everything is planned over the sea here, it's a lot safer. I've got no concerns - I'm looking forward to it."

Barry Wild, 68, from Colchester, said he came to the air show every year with his family.

Image caption Spectator Barry Wild does not believe air shows should take place over land

Although he is comfortable with the idea of planes taking part in displays above water, he thinks shows should not be held over land.

"If there's water nearby, do it over that. If there's a big airfield, keep the crowds outside the perimeter and do it over the airfield. But I wouldn't do it over land, not after the events of last week."

Image caption Maureen Jones and Barbara James described the Shoreham crash as "a freak accident"

The number of people killed when a jet taking part in a display at the Shoreham Airshow on Saturday crashed into traffic has not yet been confirmed, but police believe 11 people died.

Maureen Jones, 69, said although she would be thinking about what had happened last weekend, it had not put her off of coming to Clacton's event.

"I think those people were in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Mrs Jones. "It does worry me in a way, but it's safer here because they fly over the sea. I think all air shows should be over the sea."

Barbara James, 64, agreed: "What happened in Shoreham was a freak accident. These things happen.

"We always come for the air show. We like the planes, and it's the Vulcan's last year so we've got to see that."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Vulcan XH558 will take part in a farewell flight at the Clacton Airshow

Many of the spectators had arrived early to grab a little piece of the seafront as the ideal vantage point.

Aviation enthusiast Matthew Willis, 38, travelled from Southampton to see the final appearance of the Vulcan bomber.

He had been due to go to the Shoreham Airshow on Sunday.

"It is an indescribable tragedy. The fact it's the first time non-participants have been killed in an air show in this country since 1952, you just can't underestimate how devastating that is to the air show community, to the aviation community and to the people involved," he said.

Image caption Father and son Brian and Matthew Willis believe lessons will be learned from Shoreham

His father Brian, 71, from Great Oakley in Essex, said he was not concerned about the safety of the seaside event.

"I know that safety is always a very high priority, and one of the things about a seaside show like Clacton is that, of course, all the flying is over the sea. So all the crowds are even safer than the normal protection at land-based air shows."

He said the Shoreham crash had not made him think twice about coming, but he added he would think about the families who have been devastated, and the pilot who is still in a critical condition in hospital.

Mr Willis continued: "If you were to do what some have suggested and cancel air shows, that would be the wrong reaction, because some of those wonderful old planes deserve to be seen by people.

"They're part of our history - when you think particularly of World War Two, for people to see the aircraft flying which helped our country gain the freedom that we we enjoy today - I think it would be an awful shame if people couldn't see that any more."

Image caption The aerobatic displays will take place over the sea off Clacton

Over the course of two days, spectators will see displays by the Red Arrows, the RAF Battle of Britain memorial flight and Sally B.

Nigel Brown from Tendring District Council, which organises the Clacton event, said it had been decided the commentator should say a few words about the Shoreham plane crash over the PA system before flying got under way.

"It will give those attending the opportunity to pay their respects and perhaps spend a moment or two reflecting on that horrific and very sad incident," he said.

Ian Sheeley, the flying display director for the Clacton Airshow, said organisers were "acutely aware" of sensitivities following the devastation of events in Shoreham.

He said: "We still believe there is a role for air shows and that air shows should continue. They are a major form of entertainment in the UK but the focus constantly, before last weekend and into the future, will be to deliver safe shows."

Image caption Connor Meakin and Darren James said they would be thinking about those who died at Shoreham

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