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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Ukraine air show: Your reaction

Ukrainian officials are trying to identify the 83 people killed in the air show disaster when a fighter jet performing acrobatics crashed into a large crowd of spectators.

The likeliest reasons for what is now the world's deadliest air show accident are negligence or plane failure, says Yevhen Marchuk who is leading the investigation.

But one of the things the inquiry will look at is the restrictions on crowd areas at such shows. In Europe there are stricter guidelines as to where spectators can stand.

What is your reaction to the tragedy? What can be done to prevent such a disaster ever happening again?

This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction:


These planes are not designed for aerobatic

Lee, UK
These planes are not designed for aerobatics. They are very advanced and highly manoeuvrable but carrying out these dangerous and complicated manoeuvres at such low altitudes and so close to spectators is taking a monumental risk. There is simply no room for error and no chance of recovery. Destroying an aircraft costing several millions of pounds each is bad enough but when innocent people enjoying a day out are killed it's time to put these planes where they belong, and that is at 35000 feet.
Lee, UK

When aircraft and crews are pushed towards their limits,very occasionally those limits will be passed, with tragic consequences.
Andy, England

I thought air shows were very exciting and enjoyable at first. However, I totally changed my view. It's terrible. I was frightened by this terrible news. I dare not participate in such shows in the future.
Alien , Hong Kong

It is a day of grief in Lviv, and sadness is in the air all around. But there is also a sharp feeling of indignity too. About two years ago Ukrainian military hit a civilian building with a rocket, killing many people. Some eight months ago - they hit an Israeli plane with people on board. Now - a new tragedy.

Whoever or whatever will officially be named as the cause of the disaster, more and more people are thinking it is the political system in the country that does not work, and became a permanent threat to people. No real democracy, no civil control over military forces, lies, corruption inside Ukraine - these are the real reasons for what happened. Human life here is worthless. The civil and military authorities think they can do what they want, and in the way they want.
Ihor Hrytsiuk, Lviv, Ukraine

I believe that too many people are trying to comment on a situation they know absolutely nothing about. The SU-27 is far more capable than the American F-15 in terms of performance and is considerably more modern. Remember the SU-27 was built to counter the F15 which was already in service. It is pure ignorance to suggest the Ukranian authorities would show disregard for their own countrymen. There are other patriotic countries outside of the good old USA you know.
DP, Scotland


People should be made more aware of the risk of attending such an event

Ron van Elst, The Netherlands
As a Ramstein "survivor" I watched this tragedy with horror. There have been accidents before and I am sure there will be accidents in the future. People should be made more aware of the risk of attending such an event. The chances of something happening are a lot greater than in "normal day" life. As long as you are aware and are willing to take that risk it's YOUR decision. I personally don't want to take that risk anymore.
Ron van Elst, The Netherlands

I saw the TV footage of this awful tragedy on Saturday night. However shocking this was I still went to the Farnborough air show on the Sunday as planned. I think that anyone attending such events has to understand the risks. The same risks that apply every summer when you jet off on holiday, or take a bus or train. Accidents do happen, no matter how many safety precautions you take. I'm no expert but I was impressed with Farnborough from a safety point of view - everything was fenced off and nothing came crowd side of the run way or overhead. Nevertheless, we still sat quite a long way back and enjoyed the display!
Nicola, UK

This is tragic. I watched the footage with horror, having attended the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford just last weekend. The aerobatics performed were fantastic and I often wondered if something like this could happen, and the kind of scale. There are stringent safety measures taken at this sort of event in this country, and while they would not prevent carnage if two planes collided or lost control, I am sure they go a long way to ensuring the safety of spectators. I have to say though, that my husband and I will still be going to the RIAT for years to come. You just cannot beat the buzz of seeing and hearing these jets performing.
Emma, England

Today I saw a list of people who died. It's terrifying. Mother and son, father and daughter, two little brothers, the whole family of four wiped out. I could not look at it without shedding tears. May God forgive the pilots. They will have to live with this for the rest of their lives.
Nikolai Gusev, Ukraine


All air shows of this kind should be permanently banned

W Campanello, USA
All air shows of this kind should be permanently banned. This was a disaster waiting to happen somewhere and will happen again unless this type of event is banned, especially in over-populated areas. It is irresponsible on the parts of governments to permit the use of military equipment in such a hazardous way.
W Campanello, USA

I think that comments about air shows being "inherently dangerous" and "an accident waiting to happen" are sorely unfounded. As with many things, there is always an element of risk involved, and accidents can always happen. I believe Saturday's events to be an unfortunate combination of mistakes which ended up in a terrible accident. I think it is unwise to draw any further conclusions about what happened, especially seeing that no real information has been put out in the press, and an investigation has barely even started let alone finished. On a personal note, I'd still go out and watch a show tomorrow. Anyone can stay safe if they sit at home wrapped up in bubble-wrap...
Chris Brook, England

I grew up in Czechoslovakia under Russian communists, so I've seen first hand the way the former Soviet armies run their military operations. I am not at all surprised that this tragedy happened. I wonder when they'll finally feel the need to stop flexing their military muscles (which are continuously diminishing) and focus more on restructuring their nation for the good of their citizens instead of showing off their military garbage.
Iva, USA/Czech Republic


The pilots should not be prosecuted as criminals

Robert Edward, USA
The pilots should not be prosecuted as criminals. There was no malicious intent here. Their commanders should not be considered criminals either. It was an accident. Granted, their safety standards regarding crowd lines should have been better, but they're just scapegoats now.
Robert Edward, USA

I don't honestly think there was anything that could've been done to prevent this disaster. Many people in the wake of this event drew comparisons with European safety regulations, which is wrong. Ultimately this could happen anywhere. Let's face it, these planes - at the speeds they travel - could hit any public viewing enclosure in seconds, thus negating any "security" measures that are imposed.
Darren Coleman, England

One has to note the swift action by the Ukrainian government to immediately sack and criminally prosecute the leaders of the Ukrainian air force. While I personally think the actions are rather harsh and draconian, other nations could certainly learn the meaning of the word "responsibility" from the Ukrainian government.
Stefan Schoeman, South Africa

Of course this is a tragic accident that could have been avoided but we have to keep things in perspective here. I didn't see any calls for football to be banned after the Hillsborough or Bradford tragedies. As it has been stated in interviews the last couple of days the last member of the paying public to die at an air show in this country was in the 1950s. Of course there is an element of risk at an air show but the safety guidelines are in place to minimise the risk to the public. In 15 years of going to airshows I have only witnessed one fatal accident and at no point were the public in any danger.
Paul Osborne, England


Let's genuinely commiserate with those in the Ukraine and be mindful it could happen here

Ian, UK
There is a paradox: the thrill of seeing a display and the very real risks of being there. People go to air shows to see spectacular feats, not from a distance but close-up. In the UK we will arrogantly say that we have rules in place that will ensure a catastrophe like that in the Ukraine couldn't happen here. Wrong. We may have used Ramstein and other disasters to enforce tight limits along the crowd line to narrow the arc of debris scatter which reduces, but does not eliminate, risk. Simple rules of trigonometry tell us that as long as aircraft are performing at high speed near a large crowd, the danger is real. A catastrophic failure or collision could send an aircraft straight into the crowd, irrespective of crowd line discipline. So let's genuinely commiserate with those in the Ukraine and be mindful it could happen here.
Ian, UK

The accidental loss of life is terrible. Air shows continue because military men need a venue to show off and justify their multi-billion dollar budgets.
Kevin G., USA

Danger has always been a draw in air shows. Often the spectators see the danger in what the pilots are doing, but less often do they realize the danger of getting close to moving aircraft in general. Should rules keep people away from air shows or should accepting the danger be a personal choice? Being the pilot of an experimental aircraft, I accept the inherent risks, and I explain the risks to all potential passengers. Beyond warning people of the risks, I don't know what we can do... trading risk for fun is an enduring human behaviour.
David Tcheng, USA

Banning things and hiding ourselves away is no way to approach risks. The pilots that fly these planes at these shows do so for our enjoyment and clearly don't intend to die any more than we expect their planes to crash. If the planes were so unsafe or poorly maintained as I've seen some comments suggest, then I would expect it would be a bit more difficult to find pilots to put on the shows, and I would think we'd be seeing SU-27s falling from the sky on a regular basis. Neither is the case. Let's improve the safety within reason, recognizing that tragedies may still occur, and move on.
Jack, United States


Air shows are ridiculously dangerous by nature. Quite often planes are flying over residential areas as well

Adam, UK
Air shows are ridiculously dangerous by nature. Quite often planes are flying over residential areas as well. It is sad that the games of boys with their toys can sometimes end up in tragedy, but perhaps people need to think more about how stupid the whole concept is.
Adam, UK

This is a tragic event that could have been easily avoided if the same safety measures were taken as the rest of Europe. As with all major events proper planning should be in place to ensure people can enjoy the event and be safe.
Mark Yates, United Kingdom

Last August I went to the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Cottesmore. I was impressed with the separation of the crowd from the aircraft. In some places there were no barriers preventing the crowd getting too close, but they still stayed back. However, it is still possible that we too could have a similar tragedy. In this instance the pilot had lost all control, which is always a possibility. A mid-air collision could result in an aircraft landing in the crowd. Whilst this is indeed a terrible tragedy, it should be seen in context. In the UK you are more likely to be killed on the road driving to or from an air show than be killed at an air show.
John Airey, UK

Why didn't the pilots remain in the plane and try to direct it into an unpopulated area? I suggest you look at the footage. By the time the crew ejected there was nothing they could have done to prevent the disaster. Why add two more to the death toll?
Anon, England

Poor maintenance notwithstanding Su-27 should have been retired ages ago. This plane is a size of American F-15 Eagle and has similar thrust power. However it is much less manoeuvrable and can be much more easily stalled. I do hope that Moscow authorities shall stop military air shows in Russia as well. They are disaster waiting to happen.
M Kondrac, USA

A sad day for Ukraine, but from the pictures it looks like the pilots were too low and too slow. However after the shooting down of an airliner last year by the Ukranians, my Russian friends and colleagues don't seem to have much faith in the Ukranian militaries abilities to use its equipment with due care and attention
Benedict Kent, Russia (ex-pat)


This was a tragedy waiting to happen

Mirek Kondracki, USA
This was a tragedy waiting to happen. Even if Ukrainian military planes were well maintained- which they are not- allowing spectators to congregate so close to the airfield was a prescription for a massacre in case of pilot's error. I do not understand what was there to show off in view of the Ukrainian air force's obsolescence. The same goes for Russian air force. I do hope that similar military air shows in Russia are also cancelled.
Mirek Kondracki, USA

Very sad indeed. I recently attended the popular RAF Waddington military Airshow in Lincolnshire. Makes you wonder just what could happen here.
Keith Canavan, England

Why didn't the pilots remain in the plane and try to direct it into an unpopulated area?
Joy Kajan, United States of America

I coincidentally saw the harrowing TV footage from the Ukraine as I was about to leave to cover an air show in Japan, where I am currently living. As an aviation journalist, I have often thought that public safety at Japanese military shows also leaves something to be desired. Much to my surprise, in this very safety-conscious country, at every event I have attended thus far, aircraft have performed manouevres towards and over the crowd line. The lessons of Ramstein, if they were ever heeded, seem to have been largely forgotten elsewhere.
Paul Thompson, Japan (British)

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