Shoreham air show crash pilot cleared of manslaughter

Aviation

A jury has cleared the pilot of a vintage jet that crashed during the Shoreham air show in 2015, killing 11 people of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The judgement, at London’s Old Bailey court earlier today, came after the Hawker Hunter flown by Andrew Hill came down onto a road during a loop manoeuvre, causing the deaths of 11 bystanders and motorists outside the air show site.

Hill was also acquitted of an additional charge of negligently or recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft, after the prosecution offered no evidence.

The pilot’s defence team argued that he had been suffering from “cognitive impairment” when the aircraft crashed on 22 August 2015.

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The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch concluded in its final report in 2017 that the accident took place because Hill commenced a “bent loop” manoeuvre with insufficient speed and engine thrust to complete it within the height available.

Outside the court, Hill acknowledged that he had lost control of the aircraft and read out the names of the 11 victims.

Noting that additional people were injured in the accident, he said: “I am truly sorry for the part I played in their deaths, and it is they I will remember for the rest of my life.”