Reports indicate a 1950’s vintage Hawker Hunter jet fighter has come down at the Shoreham airshow in the past hour.
Whether the pilot was able to escape the plane before it came down, and any injuries caused as it tumbled across the A27 highway have yet to be confirmed however pictures emerging on Twitter indicate a serious incident. Police say there have been “several casualties” but no specifics yet.
Reporting on the incident appears confused, with both Sky News and The Guardian reporting that a “Second World War” Hawker Hunter fighter jet having crashed, despite the aircraft having been a stalwart of the Cold War RAF. The prototype of the jet didn’t fly until 1951 – six years after the end of the 1939-45 war.
An amateur mobile phone video recording the last moments of the Hunter shows it performing an aerobatic display, but being unable to pull out of a steep dive as part of a loop. Although the nose was pulled up at the moment of impact, massive momentum from the downswing of the loop kept pulling the hunter down.
Viewer Discretion Advised: Film from Scene as plane impacts
— The Clueless Saviour (@Manor_Farm_Tony) August 22, 2015
In this Twitter video, fuel is seen burning in rich orange tones moments after the aircraft struck the ground:
Update: Video clip of Hawker Hunter jet crash at Shoreham Airshow in Sussex. Reportedly came down on to the A27. pic.twitter.com/0Bbg7PPXxf
— Kent 999s (@Kent_999s) August 22, 2015
— Nicholas Hair (@NDH37087) August 22, 2015
Photo journalists rushed to get their pictures online, resorting to uploading camera phone pictures of the preview displays on their professional cameras to Twitter:
— Tim Lake (@TimLakeTV) August 22, 2015
This unconfirmed image claims to show the Hunter diving moments before impact:
— UK Justice Forum (@Justice_forum) August 22, 2015
As well as serving with the British Royal Air Force, the Hunter was successful in export orders and also flew with the Indian and Swiss air-forces until recently, among others.
Watch: Remarkable clip of Swiss Hawker Hunters using emergency mountain converted motorways as runways, designed for use in case of invasion.
More on this story as it develops.