Airbourne pilot in Shoreham disaster

Airbourne 2015. Day two. SUS-150817-074546001
Airbourne 2015. Day two. SUS-150817-074546001

The pilot of the doomed Hawker Hunter jet which crashed at Shoreham Air Show on Saturday – killing up to 20 people – had flown at Eastbourne’s Airbourne only the week before.

Andy Hill, who is fighting for his life in hospital after the horrific crash on the A27 at the weekend, was behind the controls of one of the RV8Tor air acrobatic display planes at Airbourne, as well as one of the Jet Provosts.

Shoreham Airshow Crash. Fuselage being lifted from the scene on the A27. PIC STEVE ROBARDS. SR1520589   24.08.15 SUS-150824-150906001

Shoreham Airshow Crash. Fuselage being lifted from the scene on the A27. PIC STEVE ROBARDS. SR1520589 24.08.15 SUS-150824-150906001

Mr Hill, an ex-RAF Harrier pilot and instructor, owns and built the Vans RV-8 G-HILZ which took to the skies above Eastbourne on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the four day air show.

Mr Hill is a well known formation instructor, light aircraft test pilot and instructs on the Jet Provost, Extra 300 and Bulldog, teaching aerobatics and combat manoeuvres. He and his wife Ellie took two years to build their RV-8. Both are airline captains with more than 12,000 flying hours each.

Mr Hill was performing a loop manoeuvre in the Hawker plane when it swooped down low and crashed on to the A27. It collided with several cars, motorbikes and bicycles before sending a black smoke plume in to the sky.

Police say that despite initial fears the death toll could rise to 20, it now appears that 11 people lost their lives.

Several victims have been named, the majority from the Worthing area.

A special crane was brought in to the crash site yesterday to remove the wreckage of the plane.

The A27 is likely to remain closed until at least Saturday.

Meanwhile, Mr Hill is in a medically induced coma at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

In a statement released by Mr Hill’s family yesterday Monday, his relatives said, “Following the tragic events on Saturday, the pilot’s family 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.

“Andrew Hill remains in critical condition. He has multiple injuries and is in a medically induced coma. His family pay tribute to the emergency services for their highly professional response following the accident and to the medical team at the Royal Sussex County Hospital for the care they are continuing to provide to Andrew.”