Death toll in British air show crash could rise to 20

2015-08-24 18:17
Shoreham plane crash. (Daniel Leal-Olivas, AP)

Shoreham plane crash. (Daniel Leal-Olivas, AP)

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London - The number of dead in the weekend crash of a military jet taking part in an air show in Britain could rise to 20, police said on Monday.

Police had earlier said that up to 11 people had died, primarily pedestrians on a busy road in southern England, where the 1950s Hawker Hunter military jet plunged to the ground on Saturday, just 400m away from viewers at the Shoreham Airshow near Brighton.

The wreckage of the jet was expected to be cleared later on Monday, leading Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry of Sussex Police to suggest the death toll could rise.

"To give people a sense of scale and also the number of people we are trying to work with in terms of the movements of their loved ones, then I would be really surprised if it would be more than 20," Barry said.

Police have not announced the identities of the victims, but family members confirmed the deaths of 24-year-old personal trainer Matt Jones from the West Sussex town of Littlehampton and of two young players at the nearby Worthing United Football Club - Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23.

The show's programme also listed the name of the pilot of the crashed jet as Chris Heames.

Videos posted on social networks showed the jet attempting a loop before crashing. It is not known why the pilot, said to be an experienced former member of the Royal Air Force, lost control of the craft.

Organisers Royal Air Forces Association defended the show's safety record on Monday, saying "pilots and aircraft must meet rigorous safety requirements and are regularly reviewed to ensure they provide the highest possible levels of protection".

Read more on:    uk  |  air crashes  |  aviation

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