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ITV News exclusive: Shoreham air crash pilot 'involved in second incident'

The aftermath of the Shoreham crash. Credit: PA

The pilot involved in the Shoreham air show crash, which claimed 11 lives, was involved in another air incident a year before the tragedy, an ITV News investigation has revealed.

The flight director of an airshow in Southport in 2014 has confirmed to ITV News that the jet Andy Hill was flying was deemed too low and too close to the crowd watching below during the show.

ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports:

David Walton, who was responsible for the safety of the show that day, said a stop call was immediately issued and the display was terminated.

Mr Walton told ITV News: "During the display by a Jet Provost T5 at the Southport Airshow on 20 September 2014, the aircraft was observed to be inside the lateral separation minima for the event and also below the minimum height stipulated in the Article 162 Permission issued by the CAA.

"A "stop" call was immediately issued by the Flying Display Director (FDD) on the display radio frequency and the flying display was terminated.

"The Flying Control Committee (FCC) had also witnessed the event and agreed with the course of action.

"The pilot was debriefed, initially on the telephone and later in person, and agreed to amend his display for the Sunday display."

Heather Minshull was a spectator at the Southport airshow that day.

She told ITV News: "I remember looking at it and thinking I'm sure that plane nearly hit. I'm sure that that plane nearly crashed.

"I do recall straight away that the plane flew high and went, so it felt very much like a cancelled manoeuvre as if something had gone wrong, and gone wrong very quickly, and therefore the plane had been pulled out of the display.

"I do recall thinking that plane would have come down on the beach. It would have come down right in front of me."

Footage of the Jet Provost T5 during the Southport airshow in 2014.

The Civil Aviation Authority told ITV News they had an inspector at the Southport show who spoke to Andy Hill about the incident.

Sussex Police is currently investigating the Shoreham Air Crash which happened on 22 August last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz told ITV News: "We are aware of an incident at the Southport airshow in 2014.

"This incident forms a line of enquiry in our wider investigation. All the families are aware of our interest in this incident."

Pilot Hill was interviewed voluntarily by police as part of their ongoing investigation into the Shoreham crash.

The Air Accident Investigation Bureau has published an interim report and a full inquest is expected to take place in June.

ITV News has contacted Andy Hill for a comment.