The Shoreham Airshow disaster was like something out of a ‘Hollywood movie’

An off-duty police officer described the horrifying scene at the Shoreham Airshow disaster as something out of a Hollywood movie.

Andrew Boydell revealed the “utter destruction” when a vintage jet crashed in a devastating fireball on the A27 near the airport.

He told an inquest that it was “one of the most shocking scenes I’ve had to deal with in my ministry.”

PC Boydell told the hearing how he advised other officers not to look as they passed the crash site, which killed 11 men and seriously injured 13 others.

He said: “I could see a large amount of black smoke rising into the air. I could see an ambulance with people standing around looking shocked, bleeding and clothes missing.”

“I could see a badly damaged car, smoking cars, complete destruction like something out of a Hollywood movie.”

At the time of the disaster, in August 2015, PC Boydell had moved to the Met after serving with Sussex Police.

He was spending the day with his father and a friend at the airshow and was about to leave when the tragedy struck.

PC Boydell said he saw the Hunter jet flying low right in front of them as his father drove them out of the air show.

“I could see the plane in front of me coming out of a roll towards the ground and it seemed too low,” he said.

“I saw a large fireball behind the tree line about 200m away.”

The Argus: Undated handout file, video grab issued by Sussex Police and the Crown Prosecution Office at the moment before the plane crashed during the Shoreham AirshowUndated handout file issued by Sussex Police and the Crown Prosecution Office the moment before the plane crashed during Shoreham Airshow (Image: Sussex Police/CPS)

PC Boydell said he was shocked and identified himself as a police officer at the scene before offering his help.

He tried to manage the crowds pouring by, concerned at the horrors they might see.

Alongside the devastation and walking injuries, there were shoes, umbrellas, and bloodied firefighters.

The officer said he heard the pilot was pulled alive from the wreck.

After doing everything he thought possible while still in his civilian clothes, PC Boydell said he decided to resign.

“I have advised colleagues not to look to the left as this was one of the most shocking scenes I have had to deal with in my ministry.

“I was moved by the calm shown to us by the public near the runway.

“I told some officers at the scene that people saw some horrible things.”

The Argus: The Moment the Jet CrashedThe moment the jet crashed (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

Pilot Andrew Hill has been cleared of manslaughter of 11 men who died on the A27.

PC Boydell’s statement, issued just days after the devastating August 2015 crash, was read during an investigation into the disaster.

Asked if he would like advice, PC Boydell said: “I just said I need a strong drink and then everything will be fine.

“I made a statement two days later.”

The Argus: rescue services after the crashrescue service after the accident (Image: PA wire/PA images)

The inquest at Horsham County Hall North also heard evidence from Julian Firth of the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

He told the inquest that the Hunter jet entered the fatal loop too slowly and did not have enough thrust to complete it.

The investigation continues. The Shoreham Airshow disaster was like something out of a ‘Hollywood movie’

Fry Electronics Team

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