Shoreham crash site work continues as final death toll 'likely to be 11'


The process of clearing the Shoreham air disaster site will continue after it emerged that it was "increasingly likely" the final death toll will be 11.

The removal of the 1950s Hawker Hunter fighter jet from the site in West Sussex where it crashed amid a fireball uncovered no further evidence of victims.

Four men have been named as among those killed, and two more have been identified as missing, following Saturday afternoon's disaster at the Shoreham Airshow.

After the removal of the plane wreckage, Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said it was now increasingly likely the final fatality figure will be set at 11. On Monday he had suggested the death toll could rise as high as 20.

West Sussex coroner Penny Schofield warned that identifying the victims would be a "slow and painstaking operation".

Mr Barry said: "The latest is that the aircraft has now been removed from the crash site and I'm relieved to say that no further victims were found as a result of our examination of that particular part of the scene.

"So it is now 11 people that we are classifying as highly likely as being victims of the air crash, and it's becoming increasingly likely that that will be the final figure.

"We have to urge some caution though because we haven't completed our full forensic examination of the crash site which is very extensive and there is always the possibility that some family or friends have yet to contact the police with their concerns."

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 Maurice Abrahams, 76, 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.

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

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 remains of the plane will be sent to Farnborough, Hampshire, where Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigators will examine the wreckage to find out exactly what caused the crash.

It is believed that the Hawker Hunter's seats were in place when it was found on the ground, which suggests that Mr Hill may not have ejected before impact.

The jet is understood to have not been carrying a black box flight recorder.

An interim report is expected to issued in the next few days.

The accident happened at 1.20pm on Saturday when a 1950s Hawker Hunter fighter jet plummeted on to the A27 after failing to pull out of a loop-the-loop stunt.

Pilot Andrew Hill is fighting for his life and has been put into a medically induced coma following the crash.

His 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.