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Pilot Killed In West Sussex Mid-Air Collision

Experts Call For Answers Over Incident Close To Shoreham Airport


Aviation specialists at Irwin Mitchell have called for investigators to work quickly to determine what caused a mid-air collision in West Sussex which led to the death of a man.

The 63-year-old pilot was killed when his own light aircraft – thought to be a private Vans kit plane – struck a Diamond DA40 near Shoreham Airport and crashed on Adur Recreation Ground. The two people on the other aircraft were uninjured.

Eyewitnesses said that debris was seen falling from one of the planes after the collision, while it is thought the pilot who died had to avoid houses before his aircraft crashed.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch and Sussex Police are now considering events in the lead-up to the incident.

Irwin Mitchell acts for a number of people who have suffered serious injuries in plane crashes both in the UK and abroad, as well as the families of those who have passed away in such incidents.

Keith Barrett, a Partner at the firm’s London office who specialises in acting in such cases, said: “There are undoubtedly a number of questions which need to be asked regarding this tragic incident, with the issue of how the mid-air collision occurred undoubtedly being one where answers are urgently needed. 

“Procedures and processes exist in order to prevent this type of problem from arising, so it is vital authorities work quickly to determine whether every aspect of flight safety was following in this incident.

“In clear weather conditions, it is the pilot’s responsibility to maintain an effective lookout and take action if there is a risk of flying close or into other aircraft. When flying under instrument flight rules, collision avoidance is the responsibility of air traffic control. 

“The accident investigation needs to identify the weather conditions at the time of the incident and the relative positions of the aircraft in the seconds leading up to the collision, in order to determine who should have ensured that avoiding action was taken.

“Like so many of the cases we act in, this incident shows just how devastating crashes can be and we hope that lessons can be learnt from any failings which are highlighted during the course of the investigation.

“In turn, this would hopefully prevent any similar problems in the future.”