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Saturday 3 December 2016

Airshows should be over sea, says mum of jet crash victim

A crane arrives on site as emergency services and crash investigation officers continue to work at the site where a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed onto the A27 road at Shoreham near Brighton, Britain August 24, 2015. Reuters/Luke MacGregor
A crane arrives on site as emergency services and crash investigation officers continue to work at the site where a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed onto the A27 road at Shoreham near Brighton, Britain August 24, 2015. Reuters/Luke MacGregor
Jacob Schilt (left), who died in the Shoreham Airshow crash, when a Hawker Hunter jet ploughed into the A27 at Shoreham in West Sussex, exploding in a huge fireball. Photo: Seb Daly/PA Wire

The mother of one of the Shoreham Airshow disaster victims has called for aerobatic displays to be restricted to taking place over the sea to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.

Sue Grimstone, whose son Matthew (23) was killed when a 1950s Hawker Hunter crashed in a fireball in West Sussex, called for a tightening of rules governing flying events.

It came after police revealed that they believe 11 people died when the jet fighter ploughed into traffic on the busy A27 dual carriageway after failing to pull out of a loop manoeuvre, with a warning that figure may rise to as many as 20.

Worthing United footballer Mr Grimstone and teammate Jacob Schilt (23), who were on their way to play in a match for the club, and personal trainer Matt Jones (24) have been confirmed as among the dead.

Wedding

Another man believed to have died was the driver of a Daimler wedding car, who was on his way to pick up a bride for her wedding service.

Jay Sherwin, the owner of Chariots Chauffeurs, said: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of our driver who was caught up in the tragic air crash on Saturday in Shoreham.”

Mrs Grimstone, from Brighton, told the Daily Telegraph her son’s death had been “a terrible waste”.

“Air shows should be over the sea. It should never have been over that road,” she added.

Pilot Andy Hill, an experienced aerobatic stunt flyer who has performed at shows for years and flies for British Airways, was pulled alive from the wreckage and is fighting for his life in hospital.

Fourteen people were injured after the jet crashed at about 1.20pm on Saturday shortly after beginning its display in front of thousands of spectators.

“The safety standards that must be met by all major

civil air displays in the UK are among the very highest in the world,” said a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman.

“All air display arrangements, including the pilots and aircraft, must meet rigorous safety requirements. Pilots are only granted approval following a thorough test of their abilities.”

Bodies of the dead were being removed yesterday, and specialist recovery teams and air accident investigators are today continuing to search the scene for more victims and clues as to how the accident occurred.

The wreckage of the plane is also expected to be removed by crane today.

Dozens of bunches of flowers were left at the railings of a nearby footbridge.

“We didn’t know you but we came because we care, we wanted you to know that you and your families are in our thoughts,” read one card. “Shoreham grieves for you and with you. Rest in peace.”

A message from the local unit of St John Ambulance read: “Our thoughts are with loved ones left behind.”

While police are yet to formally identify any of those who were killed in the tragedy, Mr Grimstone’s family said they were in “total shock” at his death.

“He was the kindest person you could ever meet, with a great wit,” they said.

Motorcyclist Mark Trussler, from Worthing, is also missing, with friends of his partner Giovanna Chirico posting appeals for information about his whereabouts on Facebook.

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