Airshow death toll likely to rise to 11 in England

:A message is seen on a floral tribute left near the site where a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed onto the A27 road at Shoreham near Brighton during  an airshow in southern England on Saturday.
:A message is seen on a floral tribute left near the site where a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed onto the A27 road at Shoreham near Brighton during an airshow in southern England on Saturday. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - A total of 11 people are likely to have died after a vintage military plane crashed on to a busy road near an air show on the south coast of England, police said on Sunday.

Seven deaths have already been confirmed after the Hawker Hunter, a type of jet first developed in the 1950s, failed to pull out of a loop and crashed into traffic next to the Shoreham air show near Brighton on Saturday.

The accident created a fireball which sent clouds of thick, black smoke billowing into the sky, while photographs of the aftermath showed charred vehicles caught up in the crash.

The pilot of the Hawker Hunter, who works for British Airways, is in hospital in critical condition.

At a press conference, Steve Barry, second in command of the local Sussex Police, described what had happened as "an enormously traumatic incident".

"We have now identified 11 people who we are treating as highly likely to have died in this tragedy," Barry said, adding that the death toll could rise again.

Police and accident investigators are still at the scene of the crash sifting through charred wreckage.

A mainstay of Britain's Royal Air Force in the 1950s and early 1960s, Hawker Hunter planes were used in campaigns such as the Suez Crisis.

Among those killed when the plane struck their cars were two amateur footballers travelling to a match, while a vintage Daimler was also hit on its way to pick up a bride on her wedding day.