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David Cameron lays flowers for Shoreham air disaster victims

Published 18/09/2015

Prime Minister David Cameron visited the scene of the Shoreham air disaster
Prime Minister David Cameron visited the scene of the Shoreham air disaster

David Cameron has paid his respects during a "moving" visit to the area where 11 victims were killed in the Shoreham air disaster.

The Prime Minister laid flowers at the wooden bridge over the River Adur in West Sussex where thousands of floral tributes have been placed in memory of those who died.

He also met emergency service members who responded after the Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 near Shoreham, local MP Tim Loughton said.

The low-key visit was the first Mr Cameron has made to the area since the crash which happened during the Shoreham Airshow on August 22.

He told the Shoreham Herald newspaper: "It's very moving and the response of the community and the people from all over the country who have come to give flowers just shows what incredibly big-hearted, compassionate people the British are.

"Out of these tragedies, which one never wants to happen, always come extraordinary stories and individuals who go above and beyond what's expected."

The crash happened when the plane failed to pull out of a loop-the-loop stunt before crashing, exploding in to a fireball.

Mr Cameron praised 999 staff involved in the aftermath of the crash, saying: "It really is a credit to the emergency services in West Sussex.

"They're not the biggest ambulance service or the biggest police service or the biggest fire service but they really did do a brilliant job.

"Not only were they incredibly quick and professional but they were also incredibly sensitive because they were dealing with an obviously horrendous scene but also dealing with people's loved ones and they did that very sensitively."

An interim report released by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) found "no abnormal indications" during the Hawker Hunter flight.

Investigators also said cockpit cameras showed the 1950s jet "appeared to be responding to the pilot's control inputs".

The victims who died were: wedding chauffeur Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton; retired engineer James Graham Mallinson, 72, from Newick, near Lewes; window cleaner and general builder Mark Trussler, 54, from Worthing; cycling friends Dylan Archer, 42, from Brighton, and Richard Smith, 26, from Hove; NHS manager Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove; grandfather Mark Reeves, 53, from Seaford; Worthing United footballers Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23; personal trainer Matt Jones, 24; and Daniele Polito, 23, from Worthing.

The inquest into their deaths was opened and adjourned this month by West Sussex senior coroner Penelope Schofield. A pre-inquest review will take place on March 22.

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