Excitement to horror: how airshow crash unfolded

Shoreham Airshow SUS-150822-150224001
Shoreham Airshow SUS-150822-150224001
David Cotton. Picture: Sussex Police

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A SERIOUS plane crash at the Shoreham Airshow today has killed seven people, police have confirmed.

1.20pm - News first breaks on social media of a plane crash at the airshow. One eyewitness, Nicholas Hair, tweets: “The Hawker Hunter has crashed at #Shoreham. This is a truly awful scene.”

DM156571a.jpg Shoreham Airshow 2015. Crash. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150822-174523008

DM156571a.jpg Shoreham Airshow 2015. Crash. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150822-174523008

1.48pm - Shoreham Airshow twitter feed reports: “There has been a major incident outside the airfield boundary. The emergency services are responding.” Emergency services, including 10 fire appliances and numerous helicopters are deployed to deal with the casualties and the A27 is closed in both directions.

2.10pm - Sussex Police release an official statement, which is distributed later on the Shoreham Airshow website. It confirms the A27 is closed, after an aircraft hit several cars before ending up in a bush. Several casualties were reported but no further information is given.

3pm - Social media is flooded with pictures and accounts of the crash. Vicky Stephens, 25, of Chichester, was on her way to Brighton when the crash happened. She told the Herald: “I didn’t see the plane, just a sudden cloud of black smoke like a mushroom cloud, so I knew straight away that something had hit. Luckily I stopped for petrol first or I’d have been right underneath it.”

3.56pm - Video of the moments after the crash emerges, as airshow visitors watch on as plumes of thick black smoke rise up into the sky.

4.21pm - Footage of the crash reveals the Hawker Harrier plane plummeting towards the A27. A huge fireball engulfs the scene.

4.58pm - The death toll of the accident stands at seven. A further 14 walking wounded are accounted for, alongside another patient suffering life-threatening injuries. A major incident is declared.

5pm - East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton releases a statement on Twitter. He said: “Tragic news that there have been fatalities at the Shoreham Airshow crash and our thoughts & prayers must be with the families & casualties.”

5.20pm - Colleagues of pilot Andy Hill, who was involved in the incident, describe him as a ‘gifted display pilot’. Airshow visitors who arrived by car remain unable to leave the site. Visitors who walked to the event are allowed home.

5.40pm - The first coaches, carrying veterans who were invited to attend the show, begin leaving the scene. Visitors can leave through the south exit only but will be asked by police for any footage of the crash to help them piece together what happened.

5.58pm - Among those paying tribute to the victims is the Great War Display Team. They said: “Naturally with the tragic events at Shoreham, the show and the Team’s display was cancelled. Our thoughts are with everyone involved in the sad events of today.”

6.35pm - Organisers announce tomorrow’s flying is cancelled, following the tragic events.