Shoreham plane crash: Victims' families question why pilot has not been interviewed

Andrew Hill was discharged from hospital more than a month ago after surviving the crash that killed 11 people

Andrew Hill, the pilot involved in the Shoreham air crash
Andrew Hill, the pilot involved in the Shoreham air crash

Relatives of some of the 11 people killed in the Shoreham air crash have questioned why police have not yet interviewed the pilot even though he was discharged from hospital more than a month ago.

Andrew Hill was placed in an induced coma after he astonishingly survived the devastating crash on 22 August when his Hawker Hunter jet failed to pull out of a high-speed loop manoeuvre, hit the ground and exploded.

Sussex Police have issued a statement saying that speaking to Mr Hill, 51, would form an “integral part” of the police investigation but that his “fitness for interview” had not been confirmed.

Giovanna Chirico, who was engaged to one of those who died, Mark Trussler, 54, of Worthing, said relatives of the dead were enduring a “frustrating waiting game”.

“We all lost our loved ones. And he [Hill] has come out of a plane crash, is walking around and is still with his family,” she told BBC News.

And Stevie Johnson, whose best friend Matt Jones also died, added: “When we’ve got everything in front of us and all of the information’s there, and the pilot’s been interviewed, and we all know exactly what’s happening, then it will be easier for us to all come together and grieve.”

An interim report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) found the Hawker Hunter “appeared to be responding to the pilot’s control inputs” and there were “no abnormal indications” during the flight. The plane did not have a flight recorder but had cameras in the cockpit.

It is not known whether police are considering bringing criminal charges against the pilot, but if that was a possibility it is likely that officers would leave their interview with him until all the other evidence had been gathered.

A former AAIB investigator told The Independent that the pilot still might not be fit to be interviewed either because of his injuries or psychological trauma.

“If they [the pilot] have got a head injury, you really need to leave it a while for it to settle. [Otherwise] you get all sorts of confused stories coming out,” he said.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz said: “The interview of the pilot forms an integral part of the police investigation, but at this time his fitness for interview has not been confirmed.”

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