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Shoreham air disaster report: Bereaved families say there are 'unanswered questions'

The eleven men who died in the Shoreham airshow disaster Photo:

The families whose relatives died in the Shoreham airshow disaster in August 2015 have expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the air accident investigation.

The parents of Matthew Grimstone, a 23-year-old footballer for Worthing United, who died in the incident, gave this response to the publication of the final report by air accident investigators.:

“Apart from anything that the Pilot may have got wrong it is very evident the CAA and the Shoreham Air Show organisers have got much to answer for. Rules laid down by the CAA were quite clearly inadequate and those that were there were, in some cases, not fully adhered to by the Air Show organisers.”

– Mr & Mrs Grimstone, Parents of crash victim, Matthew Grimstone

The solicitors Irwin Mitchell who represent 14 victims affected by the crash, including people who lost loved ones and people who were seriously injured, have said their clients are 'disappointed that safety recommendations to reduce the risk of a repeat incident have not yet been fully implemented'. The firm said its clients only wanted lessons to be learned so that similar accidents would be prevented in the future.

“The families have been waiting almost 18 months for answers as to what went wrong on that tragic day and more importantly why. The AAIB investigation and report has been central to the families’ desire to establish the truth as to what happened. They finally have some answers which is clearly a relief.

“The overwhelming concerns which remain are the lack of adequate safety regulations which were in place before the accident together with the failure of the organisers of the Air Show to implement existing CAA procedures which were in force at the time. Tragically, it appears that this was a disaster waiting to happen and one that could have been avoided.

“It remains a significant disappointment that 18 months after this tragedy occurred, many of the recommendations made by the AAIB to improve the safety of future Air Shows have still not been implemented by the CAA. The CAA has stated they may not be in a position to complete aspects of their investigation until 2018.

“The families affected want to be reassured that lessons have been learned to reduce the risk of a tragedy like this happening again and it is distressing to them to see that recommendations which they see as common sense have still not been acted upon.

“Indeed, the seeming reluctance by the CAA to adopt a number of the AAIB’s recommendations is a cause of major concern. Questions may now be asked about whether the CAA has given adequate priority to ensuring the safety of the public. At the same time, the families and individuals who we represent have shown astonishing patience, dignity and grace in dealing with tragic loss and terrible injury. We call upon the CAA to acknowledge this and act upon all the recommendations of the AAIB as a matter of urgency.

“Nothing can turn back the clock and some of those affected may never fully recover from the trauma of what happened. We are working with our clients to ensure that they secure the best possible support to maximise their recovery and rehabilitation.”

– Rebecca Smith, Specialist Aviation lawyer, Irwin Mitchell

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