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Police unsure if Shoreham Airshow crash pilot fit enough to be quizzed

Published 01/10/2015

Andy Hill who was flying the Hawker Hunter which crashed at Shoreham
Andy Hill who was flying the Hawker Hunter which crashed at Shoreham

Police are still waiting to question the pilot of a jet that crashed during the Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 men, because his "fitness" has not been confirmed.

Andrew Hill was left fighting for his life after the Hawker Hunter plane he was flying failed to pull out of a loop-the-loop stunt and plummeted on to the A27 in West Sussex.

Mr Hill was released from an undisclosed specialist hospital last month but has yet to be questioned by investigators.

As the first picture of Mr Hill since the tragedy was published in The Sun newspaper, Sussex Police said his fitness for interview has not been confirmed.

Victims' families have been kept informed of the reasons. And officers were still gathering evidence "in order to gain maximum benefit from that interview", Sussex Police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz, leading the police inquiry into the air crash, said: "The interview of the pilot forms an integral part of the police investigation, but at this time his fitness for interview has not been confirmed.

"Additionally, we are still in an evidence-gathering stage, with appropriate expert assistance, as we need to fully understand every element of what is a very complex subject in order to gain maximum benefit from that interview.

"The families of the victims have been updated as to the reasons why the pilot has not yet been interviewed."

An interim report 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 last month by West Sussex senior coroner Penelope Schofield. A pre-inquest review will take place on March 22.

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