7 DEAD AS JET SLAMS INTO CARS; Public look on in horror as air show spectacle ends in tragedy.
SEVEN people were killed after a plane crashed into cars on a major road during an aerial display at the Shoreham Airshow in West Sussex yesterday.
The Hawker Hunter jet plummeted to the ground when it failed to pull out of a loop manoeuvre, smashing into the A27 in a huge fireball.
Horrified onlookers described seeing the plane flying low to the ground followed by a "huge ball of fire and black smoke".
Footage of the crash showed the jet carrying out a loop manoeuvre high in the air but failing to pull up in time.
The plane then crashed into the ground, bursting into a ball of flame and smoke. The pilot did not eject.
Footage appeared to show queueing traffic on the A27 as the plane slammed into it.
The crash at Shoreham was witnessed by thousands of people who had flocked to the first day of the air show, as well as horrified onlookers nearby.
One eyewitness, tweeting as Jon B, said: "The plane turned from the north by Lancing College, went to go low towards the airfield and went behind some trees below where I was.
"Then there was a crunch sound and a ball of flames and thick black smoke came up from the ground."
Laura Raymond, a radio presenter, said the accident happened less than a quarter of a mile from where crowds and families were watching the event. She said a "couple of planes" were taking part in a jet display when one appeared to fly too close to the ground before onlookers saw a "huge ball of fire and black smoke".
She said: "We were watching the displays and the fast jets were going on. To the best of our knowledge the Hawker Hunter T-7 display was under way.
"Within seconds we were thinking, 'gosh, that plane is going rather low.' .' There was a ball of fire, we didn't even hear an impact, and then plumes of black smoke." Ms Raymond said commentators at the event described the situation to the crowds as a "tragic incident", and that the incident was outside the airfield boundary. Shoreham resident Dave Penwarden, 51, said he saw the plane explode in a "massive fireball".
"The plane was coming out of a loop-the-loop, it was fairly low," he said. "It just didn't seem to have enough speed to come out of the loop, instead of powering out it dropped too fast and hit the ground. There was a massive fireball and an awful lot of smoke. Afterwards there was a stunned silence.
"Everyone just went quiet, it's remarkable really. There were no more flying stunts."
Another witness David Hough, 76, said he saw the aircraft flying low to the ground. "Suddenly there was a big flash and flames and lots of smoke. Everyone was very quiet and subdued afterwards. A lot of people now can't go home, if you came by car you're stuck."
A West Sussex Police spokesman said: "A number of people are known to have died when a historic military jet crashed into a busy main road at Shoreham in Sussex.
"The Hawker Hunter was taking part in an air show at the airport adjacent to the A27 when it crashed on to the road and ended up in a bush at 1.20pm.
"The casualties were all believed to have occurred on the road and there were not thought to be any injuries to anyone actually on the airfield."
The moment of impact was caught on camera as the Hawker Hunter jets slammed into the A27 road in West Sussex
The Hawker Hunter jet
The scene of horror on the A27 in West Sussex where the jet slammed into cars, leaving seven people dead yesterday