Recalling a horrific event at Eglinton Air Show

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It was like a war zone,” said several witnesses. One lady said she’d never been in a war zone but that was how she imagined it. The inferno that engulfed the A27 and the sky above it near Shoreham after a jet performing stunts crashed onto the road was like a hellish scene from a war movie.

“It was like a war zone,” said several witnesses. One lady said she’d never been in a war zone but that was how she imagined it. The inferno that engulfed the A27 and the sky above it near Shoreham after a jet performing stunts crashed onto the road was like a hellish scene from a war movie.

The “A27” sounds too run-of-the-mill to be a movie set. That underlined the horror of the random carnage that fell from the sky on people passing-by on the road.

It reinforced the danger associated with air shows, after a series of crashes this summer.

On a lesser scale disaster struck at Eglinton Air Show in July 1948. Canadian aircraft carrier HMCF Magnificent lay at anchor off Moville and her aircraft were flying from Eglinton.

Four Sea Furies were flying in formation when two of them collided. My old friend, and aviation enthusiast, the late Nat McGlinchey saw what happened.

“I saw bits of aircraft flying through the air,” Nat told me some years ago. “One of them staggered out over the Foyle where its pilot bailed out and was rescued. The aircraft crashed into a wood at Muff. The other pilot came in much faster than normal and crash landed on the runway. The day before, two pilots were killed whilst practising for the show, so in terms of lives lost and aircraft destroyed it was a costly event,” Nat recalled.