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Monday, 4 June, 2001, 04:10 GMT 05:10 UK
Inquiry begins into air crashes
Crash
One man died in Sunday's crash
Investigations into two fatal air crashes at an air show over the weekend are due to begin on Monday.

The tragedies, in which three men died, happened at Biggin Hill airfield in Kent when two vintage planes fell from the sky - one on Saturday and the next 24 hours later.

Two men died when a De Havilland Vampire dipped and hit the ground, bursting into a fireball on Saturday afternoon, in front of a crowd of about 35,000 shocked onlookers.

A day later more than 50,000 people saw a similar scene unfold when a 60-year-old American King Cobra plane spiralled out of control and exploded into trees, killing the pilot.

Map
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch will hold inquiries into the accidents.

The two men who died in Saturday's crash were named by Scotland Yard as former deputy chief of defence staff Sir Ken Hayr, 66, from Warwickshire and Jonathon Kerr, an electronics engineer from Bournemouth.

The pilot who died on Sunday was named as Guy Bancroft-Wilson, 43, a British Airways captain based at Gatwick.

He was married with three sons aged between six and 11.

Shock

Biggin Hill spokesman Nick Smith said there was a feeling of shock at the show following the crashes.

"I have been here since 1978 working on the show and only in 1980 were there any fatalities," he said.

"Now in two days we have lost two aircraft and we have got two lots of fatalities."


Everybody is completely horrified by what has happened

Eyewitness
Event organiser Jim Maitland said: "It's a unique thing that when there are so few accidents that two should actually take place here in a single weekend.

"It doesn't alter the fact that the air show as seen in this country is widely regarded as the safest and best regulated in the world."

One eyewitness said of Sunday's crash: "The plane was doing a spin but failed to pull out of it totally and continued spinning into the ground.

"It was a couple of hundred yards away and coming back towards the airfield.

"Everybody is completely horrified and shocked by what has happened."

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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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