Seven Dead After Crash of Military Jet at British Air Show

British Air Show
A Hawker Hunter jet, like the one pictured, crashed at the Shoreham Air Show in West Sussex, Britain on Saturday, killing seven people on the major A27 motorway, which runs near the airport. The pilot ejected safely, officials said. File Photo: MAC1 / Shutterstock

LANSING, WEST SUSSEX, England, Aug. 22 (UPI) — At least seven people were killed at the Shoreham Air Show in Britain Saturday when a military jet crashed in a spectacular fireball after attempting an airborne maneuver, witnesses and officials said.

The pilot of a Hawker Hunter — a subsonic military jet widely used by the Royal Air Force during the 1950s and 1960s — lost control of the aircraft and plunged to the ground on the A27 motorway. The plane exploded into a massive fireball but the pilot ejected safely, the Royal Air Force Association said.

Seven people on the ground were killed, officials said, and several others were inured. One person was critically injured, police said, and a portion of the A27 motorway was shut down.

“Following today’s tragic accident at the Shoreham Airshow, the CAA will be offering every assistance to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) with its investigation,” the British Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those involved.”

Witnesses at the air show said the pilot of the Hawker had just taken off and was attempting to perform a loop when he crashed.

“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,'” witness Stephen Jones told the BBC.

“We were waiting for it to go back up and it didn’t,” witness Ailish Southall, who was driving on the A27 motorway, said. “It seemed to kind of split in two.”

“There was a massive fireball and an awful lot of smoke. Afterwards there was a stunned silence,” witness Dave Penwarden said.

Authorities said all seven people killed were on the motorway, and no one on the airfield was injured.

Air show officials said Sunday’s performances have been canceled due to the crash.

The Hawker Hunter was first introduced into the Royal Air Force in the early 1950s and was a staple in the branch for years. The aircraft is still used by the RAF to train pilots.

Saturday’s is the second deadly accident at the Shoreham Air Show in the last decade. In 2007, a pilot was killed when he attempted an unplanned barrel roll in a World War II plane while re-enacting the Battle of Britain.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here