Shoreham Airshow disaster: what happened during 2015 event? How many people died - who was the pilot?

The disaster at the Shoreham airshow in 2015 led to the death of multiple people and the injury of several others

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A senior coroner has ruled that the cause of unlawful death of 11 men at the 2015 Shoreham Airshow was a result of “poor” flying and significant errors made by the pilot. The incident was one of the deadliest airshow accidents in the UK since the 1952 Farnborough airshow crash.

Andrew Hill was piloting the plane at the time of the crash and was attempting to perform a trick. Coroner Penelope Schofield has now said that his “poor” handling of the aircraft was directly to blame for the deaths and injuries caused.

Mr Hill had been charged with 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence but found not guilty on all counts in March 201. He had has maintained that he does not recall the crash.

Ms Schofield has said that it was “clear and obvious” that Mr Hill should have abandoned the stunt he was attempting at the time. However, she added that her conclusion should not detract from Mr Hill’s not guilty verdicts, saying in her conclusion: “Eleven innocent lives were cruelly lost on August 22 2015. Lives that were cut way too short.

“This huge loss will be worn by the families for the rest of their lives. It has been a long journey, some seven years for you, to get the answers you wanted.

“It has been a difficult journey getting to this stage. I hope you feel that through these proceedings, you now have a voice.”

What happened at the Shoreham Airshow disaster?

The airshow took place at Shoreham Airport on 22 August 2015. At the time, a Hawker Hunter T7 - piloted by Mr Hill - was attempting to complete a loop manoeuvre while it performed in the skies above the crowds gathered.

The manoeuvre failed, with the aircraft crahsing into vehicles on the adjacent road. Along with the 11 lives lost, 16 other were injured by the crash, including Mr Hill.

Ms Schofield said: “This was not a close or difficult judgment call. Even experienced pilots on the ground could see (the plane) was too low.

“The poor position of the plane in the sky was a further significant error – this plane should not have been lined up with a dual carriageway.”

Who were the victims?

There were 11 deaths ruled unlawful as a result of the crash. The victims were:

  • Anthony Brightwell, 53, from Hove
  • Daniele Polito, 23, from Goring-by-Sea
  • Dylan Archer, 42, from Brighton
  • Jacob Schilt, 23, from Brighton
  • James Mallinson, 72, from Newick
  • Mark Reeves, 53, from Seaford
  • Mark Trussler, 54, from Worthing
  • Matthew Grimstone, 23, from Brighton
  • Matthew Jones, 24, from Littlehampton
  • Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton
  • Richard Smith, 26, from Hove

Upon the announcement of the coroner’s conclusions, a lawyer representing the families said that the ruling marked the end of the families’ search for justice. Sarah Stewart said: “The families we represent would like to thank the senior coroner for her thorough investigation.

“The senior coroner has found that the deaths of the 11 innocent men in the Shoreham Airshow disaster on August 22 2015 were avoidable. The bereaved families have waited more than seven years to reach this point, and although the senior coroner’s conclusion will not ease the pain of their loss, their voices have been heard.”

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