ENGLAND — Police said Monday that the death toll from the crash of a plane onto a highway Saturday at an air show in southeastern England “may rise” from the current “highly likely” count of 11.
“However, we do not expect that figure to be greater than 20, probably fewer,” said Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, of Sussex Police.
Two days after a 1950s-era military jet plunged from the sky and crashed onto a busy UK highway, authorities resumed the search for more possible victims.
Meanwhile, people began raising questions about whether an aerobatics show should have been held over a highway. And the A27, running along some of England’s coast, parallel to the English Channel, is among Britain’s busiest.
‘It should never have been over that road’
Sue Grimstone, from Brighton, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the death of her son, Matthew, who was 23, had been “a waste.”
“Air shows should be over the sea,” she said. “It should never have been over that road.”
All of the people known to have died were on the A27. The plane’s pilot is reported to be hospitalized and fighting for his life, though how anyone could have survived the fireball sent up by the impact is hard to imagine.
Some people were reportedly taking to social media in an attempt to find missing loved ones.
At least 14 other people were injured.
The plane involved was a 1950s Hawker Hunter, which failed to pull out of a loop and plunged nose-down onto the A27 as a crowd of people, including children, watched in horror.
Hawker Hunter was originally developed as single-seat, highly maneuverable jet fighter, though two-seaters were later built. It has been used by numerous air forces around the world.
On Sunday, a day after the crash, Sussex police announced at a news conference that they had the names of 11 people whom they are treating as “highly likely” to be dead.
The identification process is a “technical” one that requires the help of the victims’ next of kin.
The show featured vintage military aircraft and was put on by the Royal Air Forces Association.
Shoreham Airshow organizers canceled the Sunday session of the show after the accident.
“Sussex Police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch have asked that anyone with photographs or video footage that may help with their investigations should send their contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org,” the air show organizers said. “Do not send files, just contact details and information about the material you have.”