LANSING, WEST SUSSEX, England, Aug. 23 (UPI) — The death toll for the Shoreham Air Show military jet crash in Britain has risen to at least 11 people, police announced Sunday.
The original estimate was seven deaths. Recovery teams began gathering bodies on Saturday soon after the plane crashed while attempting an airborne maneuver.
Matt Jones, 24, and Matthew Grimstone, 23, a soccer player for the Worthing United team, were the first confirmed deaths. The crash site remains a dangerous area, as there is still fuel, possibly burning, on the plane.
Assistant Sussex Police Chief Constable Steve Barry said it was “quite possible” more victims could be discovered. The removal of bodies may continue through Monday.
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 and the pilot ejected, the Royal Air Force Association said.
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.
“There was a massive fireball and an awful lot of smoke. Afterwards there was a stunned silence,” witness Dave Penwarden said told BBC News.
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.
Doug G. Ware contributed to this report.