Shoreham plane crash: Heavy rain and flooding hamper investigation process

Police say it is 'increasingly likely' that the death toll will remain at 11

Jamie Merrill
Wednesday 26 August 2015 10:41
Floral tributes to victims of the crashed Hawker Hunter fighter jet line a bridge in Shoreham
Floral tributes to victims of the crashed Hawker Hunter fighter jet line a bridge in Shoreham

Heavy rain and flooding have hampered the continuing investigation at the scene of Shoreham air crash, with the coroner warning that identifying the victims “will be a slow a painstaking process”.

Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said it now appears “increasingly likely” the death toll from the worst airshow disaster in 60 years will remain at 11.

Investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) were carrying out a final sweep for plane parts on the A27, where a Hawker Hunter vintage jet crashed in a ball of flames on Saturday. The wreckage of the jet has been moved to Farnborough airport for examination by AAIB officials, but investigators on the ground are keen to make sure they collect all of the vintage jet’s parts, to allow them to look for signs of any technical faults.

Andy Hill, the pilot, remains in a “critical but stable condition” in the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton, amid suggestions from one former RAF aerobatics instructor that he had been “showing off” in the display.

Leslie Hatcher, 71, who flew Hawker Hunters, told The Times that Mr Hill must have been a “complete lunatic” to attempt to carry out the loop manoeuvre he did.

But Jonathon Whaley, a friend of Mr Hill’s and a former Royal Navy pilot who displayed Hunter jets for 16 years, told The Independent he was “angry” over the claims and investigators should be allowed to get on with their work.

“The display environment is probably safer in the UK than anywhere in the world and there are strict rules a pilot has to follow... We should leave this to the AAIB,” he said.

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