Shoreham air disaster families await AAIB findings

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The AAIB final report will not apportion blame but will look at the cause of the crash

The families of the 11 men who died in the Shoreham air disaster are gathering before investigators publish their final report.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) will give conclusions on Friday.

Its report will not apportion blame but is set to look at the cause of the crash and make safety recommendations.

Leslye Polito, whose son Daniele died when a jet hit the A27 during the Shoreham air show in West Sussex on 22 August 2015, said she wanted answers.

The vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the dual carriageway, destroying several vehicles and bursting into flames.

The families are attending a private briefing on Thursday.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Families know there will be unanswered questions after the report, their lawyer said

"I'm interested to know what the conclusions are in the report and to see if there is any new information. That's all I'm hoping for right now," said Ms Polito, from Worthing.

Pilot Andy Hill, 52, from Hertfordshire, who survived the crash, has been investigated for possible manslaughter.

Sussex Police said its investigation was continuing and officers awaited the AAIB report.

The Reverend Terry Stratford, associate priest of St Mary De Haura Church in Shoreham, where a service marked the first anniversary of the crash, said: "Once the report is out, people will be able to take it on board.

"But for the families, they are still facing up to the tragic deaths of their loved ones in terrible circumstances.

"Everybody - the families and the community - just want to know what happened."

James Healy-Pratt, a lawyer for the families, said relatives had waited patiently for 20 months and described the report as "a critical step on the journey to the truth".

But he said families understood questions would remain after the AAIB report that would better be answered by the coroner and police.

Inquest proceedings were delayed while West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield awaited the AAIB report and police investigation.

The victims

Image source, 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 Tussler, Daniele Polito, Dylan Archer, Graham Mallinson
  • Matt Jones, 24 - a personal trainer
  • Daniele Polito, 23 - he was travelling in the same car as Mr Jones
  • Matthew Grimstone, 23 - a Worthing United footballer who worked as a groundsman at Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Jacob Schilt, 23 - a Worthing United player travelling to a match with Mr Grimstone
  • Maurice Abrahams, 76 - a chauffeur on his way to pick up a bride on her wedding day
  • Richard Smith, 26, and Dylan Archer, 42 - friends who were going for a bike ride on the South Downs
  • Mark Reeves, 53 - he had taken his motorcycle to the perimeter of Shoreham Airport to take photos of the planes
  • Tony Brightwell, 53 - an aircraft enthusiast who had learned to fly at Shoreham airfield
  • Mark Trussler, 54 - thought to have been riding his motorcycle on the A27
  • Graham Mallinson, 72 - a keen photographer and retired engineer

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