LONDON (Reuters) – The death toll after a jet plane ploughed into a busy road in southern England while performing at an airshow could approach 20, police said on Monday, as Britain began reviewing its safety procedures for such events.
A vintage Hawker Hunter fighter jet struck several cars on Saturday on the major road next to Shoreham airport near Brighton, where the show was taking place.
Police said on Sunday they feared 11 people had died. A senior officer said that figure was likely to rise as police gained access to more areas of the accident scene.
“It’s too early to tell but I’d be surprised if (the death toll) doesn’t go above 11,” Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry was quoted as telling the BBC.
“If it would be below 20 then that would be probably the best estimate that I could give you at this stage.”
Amateur video footage showed two big explosions and black plumes of smoke after the jet hit the ground.
The road, a major artery for traffic along the south coast, remained closed on Monday. Barry said the wreckage of the aircraft was due to be moved later in the day.
Britain’s air transport regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, said that while safety standards in the country were among the most stringent in the world, it would look at whether improvements could be made.
“We immediately commenced our review processes and remain committed to continuously enhancing the safety of all civil aviation,” a spokesman said.
(Reporting By Costas Pitas; editing by William Schomberg and John Stonestreet)