Shocking footage shows the seconds before the Shoreham air crash

Shocking footage shows the seconds before the Shoreham air crash

‘Ow, ow, ow’: How Shoreham air display pilot screamed ‘take me away’ to medics after horror loop-the-loop stunt crash that killed 11 people1950s Hawker Hunter fighter jet plummeted onto dual carriageway killing 11 men after pilot attempted loopIt crashed into a fireball on the dual carriageway at Shoreham Airshow, which has not been held since…


‘Ow, ow, ow’: How Shoreham air display pilot screamed ‘take me away’ to medics after horror loop-the-loop stunt crash that killed 11 people

  • 1950s Hawker Hunter fighter jet plummeted onto dual carriageway killing 11 men after pilot attempted loop
  • It crashed into a fireball on the dual carriageway at Shoreham Airshow, which has not been held since then 
  • Andrew Hill says he suffered ‘cognitive impairment’ and denies 11 manslaughter by gross negligence charges
  • Court is shown footage of the moments before the plane crashed onto the busy main road in summer 2015 

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An air display pilot who witnessed the plane crash at Shoreham Airshow that claimed 11 lives told a court of his ‘sickening feeling’ as he realised the disaster was about happen.

Andy Hill, 54, had a miraculous escape when he crashed on the A27 in West Sussex while performing a loop-the-loop stunt in a 1955 Hawker Hunter in August 2015.

Royal Air Force instructor Hill was saved from the fireball that engulfed the dual carriageway after the cockpit was torn from the aircraft on impact.

He is now on trial for 11 counts of gross negligence manslaughter and one count of endangering an aircraft.

Yesterday the court was played a range of footage from the day of the disaster, showing the plane arching in the sky before it crashed down on the road.  

The court was also told how Hill shouted: ‘Ow, ow, ow’ and, ‘Come on guys, take me away, take me away’ to medics after the crash. 

The jet is pictured seconds before it crashed into the dual carriageway in West Sussex, killing 11 people at the Shoreham Air Show in 2015 

The jet is pictured seconds before it crashed into the dual carriageway in West Sussex, killing 11 people at the Shoreham Air Show in 2015 

Mr Hill is claiming to have suffered a 'cognitive impairment' when he was flying the Hawker Hunter (pictured, ascending to perform the stunt)

Mr Hill is claiming to have suffered a 'cognitive impairment' when he was flying the Hawker Hunter (pictured, durcing its descent

Mr Hill is claiming to have suffered a ‘cognitive impairment’ when he was flying the Hawker Hunter (pictured, left, ascending to perform the stunt and, right, descending) 

Witness Thomas Maloney, a jet display pilot of 33 years experience, previously owned the Hunter jet that Hill was flying that day and was at the show with friends and family, but was not taking part.

Mr Maloney told the Old Bailey that the jet slowed down as it started to pull up from the manoeuvre and he had a ‘sickening feeling’ because it did not have the speed to regain height.

‘When the aircraft went vertical I sort of felt that it was not going to end very well,’ he told the jury.

‘I said to the pilot standing next to me, a friend of mine, ‘God he’s slow’.

Mr Hill (pictured arriving at the Old Bailey today) has denied manslaughter following the disaster 

‘As the nose dropped the crash was inevitable. I said to my friend he is dead then, as the pilot does not usually survive.’

Derek Davis was the chairman of the flight control committee at Shoreham Airshow on the day of the crash and had been in the RAF for 10 years, as a fighter pilot and a flying instructor.

Giving evidence, Mr Davis said he became concerned when the plane began its descent and he did not see ‘full power’ kick in as would be expected.

But he said nothing happened and the plane continued ‘waffling’ downwards to the ground, adding: ‘I thought the aircraft on the descent was not being controlled.

‘He wasn’t desperately trying to miss the ground or anything.

‘There was nothing like that happening.

‘He wasn’t doing anything.’ 

Mr Davis told the court that every committee member had a radio on their person that could directly communicate with the pilot. 

The call would only be made when the pilot had taken back control of the aircraft as they would not want to interrupt him in the middle of his recovery.

He said: ‘The situation when you see the aircraft in trouble could indicate that there is something wrong inside that aircraft.

‘It could well be that the pilot is working extremely hard.’

He told the court that committee members would not make a ‘Stop Stop Stop’ call to the pilot until he had regained control of the aircraft.

Mr Davis did not see the crash as it happened behind a tree line but he said he believed the pilot had lost control as he could not hear the jet engine powering the descent.

‘I thought the aircraft on the descent was not being controlled,’ he said.

Prosecutors told the jury that the pilot (inset) was too low and too slow at the point of take-off into the loop on Wednesday, as illustrated in this graphic

Prosecutors told the jury that the pilot (inset) was too low and too slow at the point of take-off into the loop on Wednesday, as illustrated in this graphic

The jet can be seen descending over the dual carriageway, which it would crash into seconds later, killing 11 people and sending a ball of flames into the air

The jet can be seen descending over the dual carriageway, which it would crash into seconds later, killing 11 people and sending a ball of flames into the air

Some 11 men were killed in the disaster which happened at 1.22pm on August 22 2015 (pictured: plumes of smoke rise in Shoreham)

Some 11 men were killed in the disaster which happened at 1.22pm on August 22 2015 (pictured: plumes of smoke rise in Shoreham)

He said if Hill had been in control he would have radioed in that he was in trouble.

‘The pilot did not make any radio transmission that there was anything going wrong,’ he said.

‘He can make a transmission to air traffic control. If he thought something was wrong he can tell somebody. He just presses a button and speaks.’

Mr Davis said that, had Hill been in control, he would have deployed the ejector seat himself before the impact.

‘It didn’t jettison the canopy. He didn’t explode the hood off or anything,’

It was activated automatically after the initial collision, the court heard.

Christopher Gotke, a former Sea Harrier pilot who was due to fly after Andy Hill’s display said he was in the food tent when Hill began the Hunter display.

‘When I actually started to really watch it was during the pull up into the vertical. The aircraft was not going extremely fast at the time.

‘It was continuing to go up but very slowly. I estimate it was 2,500ft going very, very slowly.’

Flames burst from behind the trees following the crash at the Shoreham Air Show in 2015 (pictured) as the pilot failed to execute his loop 

Flames burst from behind the trees following the crash at the Shoreham Air Show in 2015 (pictured) as the pilot failed to execute his loop 

Medic tells of pilot’s agitation after crash

Red Cross nurse Tony Kemp told jurors he had to climb through undergrowth to make his way towards the plane. 

He found Hill lying flat on the ground without a helmet and originally thought he was unconscious, but then saw his eyes opening as he started to respond to questions.

In a recording played to the jury of the moments after the crash, Hill is barely audible and can be heard groaning as medics try to talk to him.

He was heard saying ‘ow, ow, ow’ and ‘Come on guys, take me away, take me away’, according to a transcript read to the court.

Mr Kemp said: ‘I remember he had quite a lot of blood around his face.’

He had symptoms consistent with a head injury and his medical condition was getting worse, Mr Kemp said.

He was becoming more agitated, trying to move, and was struggling to follow the conversation, which had to be repeated, he added.

Then he ‘collapsed very rapidly’ and was at risk of having a cardiac arrest but the team managed to save his life.

He was sedated and taken to hospital.

Mr Kemp told the court that without immediate medical treatment he would have died at the scene.

The Shoreham Airshow has not been staged again since the disaster on August 22, 2015, out of respect for the families of the men who died.

The 11 men who died were wedding chauffeur Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton; retired engineer Graham Mallinson, 72, from Newick, near Lewes; window cleaner and builder Mark Trussler, 54, from Worthing; cycling friends Dylan Archer, 42, from Brighton, and Richard Smith, 26, from Hove.

The others were NHS manager Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove; grandfather Mark Reeves, 53, from Seaford; Worthing United footballers Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23; personal trainer Matt Jones, 24; and Daniele Polito, 23, from Worthing. 

Yesterday, relatives of the victims watched quietly footage showing a pilot’s eye view of the dual carriageway looming larger before the sound of a massive explosion.

Hill was seriously injured after being thrown clear of the cockpit in his seat. The trained RAF instructor, who was a British Air-ways captain at the time, told paramedics who asked what happened: ‘I don’t know.’

Yesterday Karim Khalil, defending, said Hill had no memory of the crash and ‘may have been suffering cognitive impairment’ due to G-force. He said: ‘We say that this case may not be about pilot error at all because Andy Hill may not have been in full control of all that he was doing.’

Only ‘a remarkable pilot’ had not made errors during their careers, said Mr Khalil. But prosecutor Tom Kark QC said exposure to Gforce was ‘routine’ for any experienced pilot and Hill’s ‘catalogue of errors’ made a crash ‘inevitable’.

He said the pilot had a history of playing ‘fast and loose’ with flying rules and a ‘cavalier attitude’ towards safety.

Hill, of Sandon, West Sussex, denies 11 counts of gross negligence manslaughter and one count of endangering an aircraft.

The trial continues.

Mr Hill's Hawker Hunter jet crashed onto the A27, killing 11 people, in August 2015. He is currently on trial at the Old Bailey

Mr Hill’s Hawker Hunter jet crashed onto the A27, killing 11 people, in August 2015. He is currently on trial at the Old Bailey

Who were the 11 victims of the 2015 Shoreham air disaster?

Maurice Abrahams, 76:

Chauffeur Mr Abrahams, from Brighton, was en route in his classic Daimler to collect bride Rebecca Sheen and take her to her wedding when the plane crashed.

A former police officer with Hampshire Constabulary, he was an ex-member of the Grenadier Guards and Parachute Regiment, and had served in Cyprus and Bahrain with the UN.

In his later years, he enjoyed working for East Sussex-based Chariots Chauffeurs as well as gardening.

His funeral was held at St Margaret’s Church in Rottingdean, where he had driven brides to their weddings countless times.

Married to Edwina, Mr Abrahams had a son, Eddie, and daughter Lizzie.

 

James Graham Mallinson, known as Graham, 72:

Retired engineer Mr Mallinson, from Newick, near Lewes, had gone to Shoreham to photograph one of the last Vulcan bomber flights.

Relatives said he was kind and generous with a ‘great sense of humour’. 

He was a private and loving family man, they added.

A lifetime member of the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex, married father Mr Mallinson had recently developed an interest in photographing vintage aircraft.

Former police officer Maurice Abrahams was a chauffeur who was killed while on his way to a job (left). Retired engineer Mr Mallinson, from Newick, near Lewes, had gone to Shoreham to photograph one of the last Vulcan bomber flights

 
Father-of-six Mr Trussler, a window cleaner from Worthing, had taken his motorbike for a spin on the day of the tragedy

Father-of-six Mr Trussler, a window cleaner from Worthing, had taken his motorbike for a spin on the day of the tragedy

Mark Trussler, 54:

Father-of-six Mr Trussler, a window cleaner from Worthing, had taken his motorbike for a spin on the day of the tragedy as he had also wanted to see the Vulcan flight.

While in Shoreham, he texted his fiancee Giovanna Chirico telling her to get the children ready so they could take them out for lunch on his return home.

She told him she loved him and his last words to her were, ‘I love you too, forever’.

A motorbike and rugby fan, he was also described as a doting father.

 Tony Brightwell, 53:

Health care manager Mr Brightwell, from Hove, was indulging his twin passions of planes and cycling when tragedy struck.

His fiancee Lara watched him cycle off to watch one of the last Vulcan bomber flights, ‘but he never came home’, she said.

Mr Brightwell gained his private pilot licence at Shoreham, loved food and cooking, and admired Second World War pilots.

 

Dylan Archer, 42, and Richard Smith, 26:

IT consultant Mr Archer, a father of two who lived in Brighton, and Mr Smith, who lived in Hove, were due to meet up with a third friend to head out for a cycle ride in the South Downs.

Mr Archer, who grew up in the Midlands, had a lifelong passion for bikes and cars, and rode the bike he made himself on the day he died.

Dylan Archer

Richard Smith

Dylan Archer and Richard Smith were due to meet up with a third friend to go on a cycle ride when they were killed in the Shoreham tragedy 

After going to university in Birmingham, Buckinghamshire-raised Mr Smith worked in a bicycle shop in Cosham, Portsmouth.

He later moved to Hove where he worked in marketing and web development at ActSmart, a firm that specialises in providing advice to the cycle industry.  

 

Mark Reeves, 53:

Computer-aided design technician Mr Reeves, from Seaford, near Eastbourne, had parked his motorbike to take photographs of planes when the crash happened.

A grandfather, relatives described him as a ‘sun worshipper’ who would often be seen relaxing with a cocktail in hand on holiday.

His family said he was combining two favourite hobbies of riding his cherished Honda bike to take photographs at the air show.

 

MatthewGrimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23:

The two Worthing United footballers were travelling together in a car to a 3pm home game against Loxwood FC when they were caught up in the crash.

Mr Grimstone’s parents Sue and Phil and brothers David and Paul called him the ‘kindest person you could ever meet’.

Team-mates said Mr Schilt was a ‘tenacious midfielder’ with an eye for a goal.

Mr Grimstone had also worked at Brighton & Hove Albion for seven years, most recently as a groundsman at the Lancing training ground.

Matthew Grimstone

Jacob Schilt

Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23, were travelling to Worthing United to play in a home game against Loxwood FC when they were caught up in the crash

 

Matt Jones, 24, and Daniele Polito, 23:

Father Daniele Polito, from Worthing, was travelling in the same car as personal trainer Matt Jones when tragedy struck.

Mr Polito’s mother Leslye Polito said on the first anniversary of the disaster that the previous 12 months had failed to ease her loss. 

A keen DJ, Mr Jones had reportedly recently returned to the UK from living in Australia.

Matt Jones and Daniele Polito both died in the same car  

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Shocking footage shows the seconds before the Shoreham air crash

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