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The BBC's James Reynolds
"Until now the Biggin Hill air show had a good safety record"
 real 56k

The BBC's Steve Kingstone
"Is it right to be flying these 60-year-old aeroplanes so close to people and homes?"
 real 56k

Eyewitness Paul Layland
"It was absolutely horrifying"
 real 56k

Eyewitness Stuart Cook
"He climbed to about 300 feet, stalled and span - he had no time to recover"
 real 28k

Airshow spokesman Nick Smith
"Our sympathies go to the next of kin"
 real 28k

Sunday, 3 June, 2001, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Second fatal crash at air show
The plane crash
The aircraft exploded in a ball of flames
A second plane has crashed at the Biggin Hill air show in Kent - just 100 yards away from horrified onlookers.

A spokesman for the show confirmed that the lone pilot of the World War II Bell King Cobra fighter was killed.

The aircraft crashed into the ground and exploded in a ball of flames on the side of the airfield away from the crowd, organisers said.


It was flying in a flypast along the main runway and it just plummeted down into the middle of the airfield

Eyewitness

On Saturday two men were killed when a vintage plane crashed during a display at the same show.

The rest of the international air fair has been suspended and the airfield closed following the second incident, which happened just before 1600BST on Sunday.

At a press conference at Biggin Hill at 1900BST on Sunday, Chief Superintendent Gerry Howlett said that the 40-year-old killed was an experienced pilot.

A spokesman for Air Displays International, which organised the event, said that it was likely that a safety review would follow.

Mr Howlett said the plane was taking part in a demonstration of American fighter aircraft.

"About five minutes into the sequence the third aircraft of the trio, the King Cobra, appeared to enter a vertical manoeuvre which was close to the centre of the display area," he said.

'Shocked and stunned'

"It failed to recover from that manoeuvre and crashed in clear ground to the north west of the runway."

Air show spokesman Nick Smith said the two crashes were "extremely unfortunate", but defended the safety record of vintage air shows, saying the last fatality at such a show was in 1980.

Map
Eyewitness Start Cook told BBC News 24 that everybody at the show was "shocked and stunned" that three pilots could have lost their lives in two days.

Richard Green, 40, from Crayford, Kent, was filming the event when the plane crashed.

He said: "I was filming the plane with my video recorder when I saw it lose control and turn over on its back. It then fell to the ground and there was a huge explosion of flames and smoke.

Inquiry

"The pilot would not have stood a chance."

On Saturday a De Havilland Vampire was halfway through the day's final display with a Vixen plane when it spiralled out of control and crashed in a ball of flames.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has launched an inquiry into the accident.

The men killed in the crash have been named as Sir Ken Hayr, a former deputy chief of defence staff, from Warwickshire, and Jonathan Kerr from Bournemouth.

In a statement, Mr Kerr's family said: "Jonathon was a very special person, who lived for his passion and died living it.

"He worked hard and achieved his ambition to reassemble and fly his own Vampire."

Sir Ken, 66, had a distinguished career in the RAF, achieving the rank of air marshal before retiring in 1992. He was knighted the same year.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: "Both the Ministry of Defence and the RAF are very sad to hear of Sir Kenneth's death in this tragic accident.

"Our condolences go to his family."

'Fell out of the sky'

It was decided that the second day of the international air fair - which is now in its 39th year and attracts around 35,000 people - would go ahead after members of the dead men's team were consulted.

In Sunday's crash the 1940s fighter plane had flown four times in front of the crowd before trying to turn when it corkscrewed twice before plummeting from the sky into a ridge.

The plane came around 100 yards from a row of terraced houses, showering some gardens with debris.

A man who witnessed the crash suffered shock but declined medical treatment.

Mr Smith said: "I can think of no other way to describe it other than it just fell out of the sky.

"At this stage I would not be prepared to comment on a possible cause of the crash."

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See also:

03 Jun 01 | UK
Timeline: Air show crashes
02 Jun 01 | UK
Two die at air show
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