Airshow pilot believed to be involved in previous incident

Andy Hill pilot at Shoreham Airshow disaster SUS-150110-120543001
Andy Hill pilot at Shoreham Airshow disaster SUS-150110-120543001

AN INVESTIGATOR has confirmed that detectives are currently looking into an incident at the Southport airshow in 2014.

It is believed that Shoreham Airshow pilot Andy Hill was involved in an incident whilst flying a different aircraft at the Southport airshow in September 2014, according to ITV News.

Mr Hill flew the Hawker Hunter that crashed onto the A27 and claimed 11 lives during a loop-the-loop stunt in August 2015.

On Tuesday (February 2), ITV News broadcast footage that is believed to show Andy Hill flying a Jet Provost T5 below the minimum height allowed and too close to the crowd at the Southport airshow.

The incident led to the display being terminated.

Eye witness, Heather Minshull told ITV News the aircraft was easily under 100 feet.

She said: “It was far too low, it seemed to be just above the van in front of me.”

Flight director of the event, David Walton, was also quoted in the report, he said: “A stop call was immediately issued by the Flying Display Director on the display radio frequency and the flying display was terminated.”

He added that the pilot was debriefed and agreed to amend his display for the following day’s event.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz said: “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.”

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) bulletin into the Shoreham Airshow incident said the stunt performed on the day was hundreds of feet lower than the pilot’s licence allowed.

The crash claimed the lives of 11 men and left Mr Hill in a medically induced coma following the accident.

In October last year, Detective Chief Inspector Rymarz said that although the interview of the pilot forms an integral part of the police investigation, at the time his fitness for interview has not confirmed.

In December 2015, officers from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team confirmed they interviewed a 51-year-old man from Hertfordshire in connection with the jet crash – this was believed to be Mr Hill.

The man voluntarily attended an appointment with detectives at a police station in Hertfordshire on Thursday (December 17) and was interviewed under caution, but not arrested.

To honour those that lost their lives, families and residents tied thousands of ribbons to the Old Toll Bridge in October 2015.

Emergency services were praised by Prime Minister David Cameron for their fast response and harrowing work. A team of 66 Red Cross volunteers were awarded the Dunant award, for going above and beyond their call of duty.

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