1. ITV Report

Shoreham air disaster: Victim's parents condemn 'extraordinary' safety failures

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sally Lockwood

The parents of one of the 11 men killed in the Shoreham air disaster have told ITV News it is "extraordinary" certain safety regulations were not required of the organisers.

Bob and Caroline Schilt, whose son Jacob died, reacted after air accident investigators published their final report into the 2015 crash in West Sussex.

The report said pilot Andrew Hill was flying too low and too slow to perform his stunt and failed to do the necessary escape manoeuvre before the crash.

"Basic safety requirements weren't in place," Mrs Schilt said.

Mr Schilt interjected: "Weren't required is the point. It's not that they didn't bother doing things it's just that they simply weren't required in the regulations. It's an extraordinary situation."

Jacob Schilt, right, was heading to play in a football match with his team-mate Matthew Grimstone when they died. Credit: PA/Facebook

Mrs Schilt earlier said she was happy with the AAIB's "very comprehensive and factual" investigation after a "huge amount of work".

"But there are still questions and they are ones for the coroner," she said, adding: "And she is still waiting for all the inquiries to finish before she can go further."

Their 23-year-old footballer son Jacob was travelling with his Worthing United team-mate Matt Grimstone to a match when the plane flown by pilot Andrew Hill smashed down into traffic.

Eleven men were killed when a display plane plunged into traffic during the 2015 Shoreham Airshow.

The parents of Mr Grimstone criticised the Civil Aviation Authority and the airshow organisers, saying they "have got much to answer for".

Sue and Phil Grimstone said that some rules for air shows were "clearly inadequate" and those that were not were "not fully adhered to by the air show organisers".

The disclosure that Mr Hill had not had formal training to stop the loop manoeuvre which led to the crash and had not had his competence to do so assessed sparked dismay.

A friend of Matt Jones said the deaths of him and 10 others 'shook' the town of Shoreham. Credit: Facebook

Nino Vydeenaden, 22, a friend of victim Matt Jones, 24, said: "It's going to anger a lot of people. If the pilot had not had formal training to stop what he was doing, then he shouldn't have done it.

"I think it's ridiculous. I know the AAIB doesn't want to point the finger at anyone, but if he had not had formal training to stop that manoeuvre then he shouldn't have flown the plane.

"The pilot is going to have to live with that. And now the families are going to be thinking that it could have been prevented. People are going to be furious."

How have other key figures reacted?

Rebecca Smith, an aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing some of the victims, said the crash was "a disaster waiting to happen and one that could have been avoided".

Ms Smith said concerns remained at the "lack of adequate safety regulations" in place before the accident and the "failure" of organisers to adhere to existing procedures.

Candles were lit for the 11 victims at St Mary de Haura Church in Shoreham on the first anniversary of the 2015 disaster. Credit: PA

She added: "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."

East Worthing and Shoreham Conservative MP Tim Loughton said the report identified "clear failures" in risk assessments and risk controls that should have been operating at Shoreham.

Local MP Tim Loughton called for a 'swift decision' by the police and CPS on whether any legal action should take place. Credit: PA

"It will now be up to the police investigators to determine whether any criminal act has been committed and who, if anybody, is culpable of having not taken action which might have prevented this accident," he said.

The Rev Terry Stratford, associate priest of St Mary de Haura Church in Shoreham, where some of the victims' families gathered before the first anniversary of the disaster, said the report does not bring final closure.

He said: "The report may say how and why but of course we have still got inquests to be held and the possibility of a criminal prosecution.

"This may go on for some time until every avenue has been exhausted. This is just one part. Although it is a very important part, we still have some way to go."