Shoreham Air Show: the Daily Mail’s sick tweet and an empty school of undead children
Shoreham Airshow disaster: a look at reporting on the horrific accident that left seven dead in West Sussex.
The Sun: “Like a warzone”
The plane, a 1950s Hawker Hunter, was coming out of a loop the loop when it hit the road. Pilot Andy “Hilz” Hill was dragged from the carnage alive.
The plane had been attempting a loop- the-loop manoeuvre when it nosedived at 300mph into traffic queuing at a red light on the A27. A group of cyclists standing by the road were engulfed by a wall of flames.
Witness Tony Wallace, 48, tells what he saw:
“It looked like a warzone. The Hunter flew over us and did a loop to head back towards the airfield. But at the bottom it almost seemed to lose power and crashed into the A27 by the traffic lights. There were around 200 people watching on a hill and there was a gasp of horror and an enormous ball of flames.”
Motorist David Bell, 37, was close to the horror:
“There were four or five cyclists standing by the side of the road and they were all wiped out.”
— Ian Fowler (@ian_wfc) August 22, 2015
The Sun takes its bearings:
It headed in the direction of Lancing College public school, which is one and a half miles to the north of the airfield…
Were the pupils in danger on a Saturday afternoon during the summer holidays?
The school has a policy of ensuring it is empty during Shoreham air shows.
Why mention the school when there are so many homes in the area? Why would the Sun imply that school children were in danger? Are we supposed to imagine how much worse it could have been? Is a child’s life so much more sacred than those of the adult cyclists? The Sun’s angle is ghoulish.
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, looks at the positives:
“Given the thousands of people attending the air show, we thank God that the aircraft did not hit a larger crowd.”
Sunday Times: “It looped the loop, but just carried on into the ground.”
After statements from many witnesses we hear of a victim:
One vehicle destroyed in the crash, a Daimler DS420 State Landaulette limousine, was on its way to a wedding. The chauffeur, in his seventies, is believed to have been killed. Jay Sherwin, owner of Chariots chauffeur hire, said: “We don’t know, we can’t find him. I don’t want to upset the bride and groom’s wedding day. They just know the car didn’t show up. They don’t know why.”
Who owned the plane?
The Hawker Hunter is believed to have belonged to Graham Peacock, the part owner of Malthurst, one of Britain’s biggest independent fuel retailers. Peacock, a former Texaco executive, started Malthurst in 1997 with £1,000 and 25 petrol sites leased from Texaco. He owns other vintage aircraft, including a Second World War Hawker Sea Fury.
Daily Mail: We learn that Andy Hill flies for British Airways. And we learn more of the impact.
The aircraft, which first entered service with the RAF in 1955, crushed a Vauxhall Corsa which was heading along the A27 passed the airport. The jet lost control after striking the car and soon broke up, engulfing a vintage Daimler DS420 in a fireball as the disintegrating jet sprayed burning aviation fuel over the carriageway. The Daimler was on the opposite side of the road, heading from Brighton towards Worthing when it was destroyed.
This is a story told by eyewitnesses who must be shaken by what they saw. Cue a crass request from the Mail for some of those “GREAT” photos of people dying on a day out in the summer:
— Chris Roberts (@1066Chris) August 22, 2015
The pictures tell the story:
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) August 22, 2015
— Carl (@AirForce_Carl) August 22, 2015