23 Aug 2015

Seven killed as jet crashes into cars at UK air show

6:14 pm on 23 August 2015

Seven people were killed when a jet plunged to the ground into traffic on a busy motorway, and the pilot is "fighting for his life" in hospital.

The bodies of more victims may be found as police continue searching the site of a jet crash in southern England, police say.

Seven people died when the plane crashed into cars near Shoreham in West Sussex.

Superintendent Jane Derrick of Sussex Police said it was possible more bodies could be found as searches continued.

The pilot was taken to hospital by air ambulance and was "fighting for his life", although police were unable to say whether he had ejected from the plane.

"As far as we are aware all those who sadly lost their lives were on the road," said Superintendent Derrick.

"At this time we are continuing to search ... the area to ensure that we have identified all the casualties.

"It is possible that ... we are going to find more bodies at the scene."

Fourteen people sustained minor injuries, four of whom were taken to hospital.

The Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed onto the A27 road, close to the airport in Shoreham where the air show was taking place.

The vintage Hawker Hunter jet plunged to the ground during Shoreham Airshow.

Photo: AFP

Witnesses said the plane was performing a loop but did not complete the manoeuvre and crashed in a fireball.

"He'd gone up into a loop and as he was coming out of the loop I just thought, you're too low, you're too low, pull up," the BBC quoted an eyewitness, Stephen Jones, as saying.

"And he flew straight into the ground either on or very close to the A27, which runs past the airport."

Ailish Southall, who was driving along the A27 in West Sussex with her two children, said the plane came down close to them.

"We were waiting for it to go back up and it didn't - it seemed to kind of split in two," she said.

"There were huge amounts of fire and we ran from the car to kind of avoid the debris because we were about 15 metres away, we were just across the road from where the accident happened."

Prime Minister David Cameron sent his condolences to the families of those who died.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister sends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the people who were so tragically killed."

Police and emergency services workers at the scene of a plane crash at Shoreham Air Show, 22 August 2015.

Police and emergency services personnel work at the scene Photo: AFP

The crash at the air show near Brighton happened about 1.20pm.

The Hawker Hunter is a single-seater jet which was developed by Britain in the 1950s.

First flown in 1951, the single-seat plane was used as a fighter, fighter-bomber for reconnaissance and for aerobatics. The plane was also flown by an RAF display team dubbed the "Black Arrows".

-BBC / Reuters / AFP

Flames erupt from the site of the fatal crash.

Flames erupt at the site of the crash. Photo: AFP / Citizenside / Mark Rutley

The 1950s Hawker Hunter jet moments before the crash.

The 1950s Hawker Hunter jet moments before it plunged to the ground. Photo: AFP / Citizenside / Mark Rutley