Toronto, ON Canadian Jet Crash At Air Show, Sep 1995
JET'S CREW PRESUMED DEAD.
PLUNGE STUNS CNE AIR SHOW.
Toronto (CP) -- Thousands of spectators lined the shores of Lake Ontario yesterday, staring for signs of the seven crewmen aboard a British military plane that crashed and sank during an air show.
There were no reports of survivors and a Defence Department official told The Canadian Press they were all presumed dead.
Malcolm Forrest, 52, watched through binoculars as the Royal Air Force Nimrod swooped over the water, tilted and plunged into the lake.
"It was an almighty splash and then, a few seconds later, a big bang. It was almost as though it just disintegrated," said Forrest, a former Royal Air Force pilot.
"Right before it crashed, there was complete silence. Then it happened, then complete silence again. It was almost like it was preordained."
It was the eighth crash in the Canadian International Airshow's 46-year history.
Small children stood watching with their hands over their mouths, parents gripping their shoulders, as military and police helicopters hovered over the crash site, about two kilometres from shore.
Police boats and divers were scouring the water for the crew of the four-engine jet.
Air Vice-Marshal Peter Squire, of the RAF, said it was too early to say what caused the crash. He said the crew members -- based in Finloss, Scotland -- were veterans of air show manoeuvers.
Squire said the aircraft, used for maritime reconaissance and anti-submarine patrols, was performing a manoeuvre known as a wing-over when the crash occurred.
The Nimrod was demonstrating its ability to avoid heat-seeking missiles by pulling up into a climb, followed by a steep turn and dive.
Air show president Don Chapman said the air show, held in conjunction with the Canadian National Exhibition, has been put on hold until the crash investigation is finished.
He said the jet appeared to be within federal safety rules at the time of the crash, which require the plane be at least 1,500 metres from spectators.
As the plane sank beneath the waves in 10 metres of water, police and military helicopters, boats and 14 divers raced out.
The choppers hovered over the scene as divers jumped into the water, where pieces of the plane were floating. They pulled orange life vests, seat covers and some articles of clothing out of the water.
In 1989 a member of the Canadian Forces' Snowbirds was killed after a stunt went awry. There have been seven other crashes at the air show -- six of those fatal.
The RAF has identified the missing British airmen as:
Flight Lt. DOM GILBERT, 31.
Flight Lt. GLENN HOOPER, 25.
Sgt. GARY MOXHAM, 32.
Flight Lt. NICK BROOKS, 26.
Sgt. RICHIE WILLIAMS, 28.
Sgt. CRAIG BARNETT, 32.
Flight Lt. BERNIE WORTHINGTON, 37.
Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba 1995-09-03