|Hawker Hunter plane crash at Shoreham air show Photo: Eddie Mitchell|
Seven people have been confirmed dead after a fighter jet smashed into traffic on a busy duel carriageway and burst into flames after failing to pull up from a loop-the-loop stunt during an airshow display.
Thousands of spectators watched in horror as the 1950s Hawker Hunter crashed into several cars on the A27 next to Shoreham Airshow in West Sussex this afternoon. The pilot, named locally as formation instructor Andy Hill, is believed to have been pulled from the burning wreckage and is now recovering in hospital.
South East Coast Ambulance Service confirmed that there has been seven fatalities declared at the scene, one patient with serious life-threatening injuries and a further 14 patients treated for minor injuries.
Footage has emerged showing the single-seater 1950s jet hurtling towards the ground before it exploded into a massive ball of flames and smoke.
Airshow officials confirmed there had been 'a major incident outside the airfield boundary', tweeting that emergency services are responding.
Police have advised motorists to avoid the A27 in the Shoreham area for rest of today as both carriageways were closed between the A293 turn off for Shoreham Harbour and the A2025. The closures are likely to remain in place for the rest of the day.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: 'At about 1.20pm the aircraft hit several cars on the A27 just to the north of Shoreham Airport, where an air display is taking place. The aircraft ended up in a bush. There have been several casualties but we have no further information on these at the moment.
'The A27 has been closed n both directions and drivers are asked to avoid the area until further notice.' The Hawker Hunter is a British jet plane known for its manoeuvrability and speed.
The WV372 model, which crashed at Shoreham Airshow at lunchtime today, was built for the Royal Air Force at a factory in Kingston-upon-Thames in the 1950s. The aircraft - one of more than 1,900 to be built - made its first flight on July 17, 1955. It was later sent to West Germany, only returning to the UK to be maintained.
Unfortunate crash at Shoreham Airport. A #Hawker #Hunter jet fatally crashed at air display #Shoreham #airport #crash pic.twitter.com/PgIhRoCCPl— First Officer Joseph (@1pianokid) August 22, 2015