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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
Inquest into air show crash
Former RAF technician Jim Kerr
Former RAF technician Jim Kerr
The inquest is due to open into the death of a an aircraft crew member from Swansea who was killed when a vintage plane crashed at the Biggin Hill air show in Kent last June.

Former RAF technician Jim Kerr, 32, died when the plane - a restored 1950s De Havilland Vampire fighter trainer - spiralled out of control and crashed.

The incident happened halfway through the final display of the opening day of the international air show.

Crash at Biggin Hill air show in which a lone pilot died
A lone pilot died in a second crash at the show

The 1950s former Swiss air force trainer jet had flown four times over the crowd before trying to turn when it corkscrewed twice before plummeting from the sky into a ridge.

The crash was followed by a ball of fire and a sound "louder than thunder" eyewitnesses said.

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

Mr Kerr, had been living and working in Swansea, but was originally from Flintshire.

A second member of the crew, a former deputy chief of defence staff Sir Ken Hayr, also died.

Talking shortly after the crash, air show spokesman Nick Smith said: "I can think of no other way to describe it other than it just fell out of the sky."

Accident inquiry

The second day of the event - which annually attracts around 35,000 people - went ahead after members of the dead men's team were consulted.

But just a day later the international air show was abandoned when another crash occurred - killing the lone pilot.

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

The inquest - being held in Croydon, Surrey - is scheduled to last two days.


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

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