Driver tells of escape from Shoreham air crash inferno

Reports 'deafening bang' before rear windscreen 'caved in'


A 4x4 driver has told how he was the last person to escape alive from the Shoreham air inferno, saying: "Two seconds later and it would have been me in there."

The 71-year-old grandfather described how he was immediately in front of the wedding limousine in which chauffeur Maurice Abrahams, 76, died.

In a dramatic account, he told how he jumped from his moving BMW X3 after the 1950s Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 in West Sussex amid a fireball.

The disaster happened at 1.20pm on Saturday during the Shoreham Airshow when the vintage jet plummeted on to the road after failing to pull out of a loop-the-loop stunt.

The BMW driver, who has not been named, told The Sun newspaper: "I was driving along when I heard a deafening bang. Something went through the rear windscreen of my car, causing it all to cave in.

"I then had flames engulfing the vehicle. I was panicking and frightened because I thought the car was going to blow up.

"My immediate thoughts were, 'What the hell is going on? Get the hell out of here', so I jumped out and rolled over."

He added: "I was the last one to make it out of the inferno alive. Two seconds later and it would have been me in there."

His account emerged as investigators sought to find more victims of the disaster. Four victims have so far been named and two others are missing, feared dead.

Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry has said it is "becoming increasingly likely" that the final death toll will be set at 11 after initial fears it could be as high as 20.

The removal of the doomed jet from the scene this week uncovered no further evidence of victims, although forensic examination of the site continued.

The remains of the plane have been sent to Farnborough, Hampshire, where Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigators will seek to find out what caused the crash. An interim report is due in the next few days.

It is believed that the jet's seats were in place when it was found, suggesting that its pilot Andrew Hill may not have ejected before impact.

The jet is understood to have not been carrying a black box flight recorder. Mr Hill is fighting for his life and has been put in a medically induced coma.

Later today locals, including Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York and East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, are due to lay flowers near the scene.

West Sussex coroner Penny Schofield has warned that identifying the victims will be a "slow and painstaking operation" and she called for "patience and understanding".

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced restrictions on air shows "until further notice" and on the flying of vintage jets in the wake of the crash.

Vintage jets limited to flypasts

Hawker Hunters have been grounded since Saturday, and displays by vintage jets over land will be limited to flypasts as high-energy acrobatics are banned.

The four confirmed victims include Worthing United footballers and best friends Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23, who were on their way to play a match when they were killed.

Personal trainer Matt Jones, 24, and former soldier Mr Abrahams, a classic car chauffeur who was going to pick up a bride for her wedding service, also died.

Motorcyclist Mark Trussler and Daniele Polito, a father from Worthing, are both missing and are feared to have been killed in the tragedy.

Mr Trussler's fiancee, Giovanna Chirico, told of her heartbreak on social media. She wrote on Facebook: "Just want u bk home - feeling heartbroken" along with four crying emojis.

Mr Hill's family said they are "devastated and deeply saddened for the loss of life" and they send their "prayers and heartfelt condolences to the families of all those affected at this difficult time".

Highways England was unable to confirm when the key A27, which remains closed in both directions near the crash site, will reopen.

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