MANCHESTER-born Lee Cowen was just minutes away from being caught up in the Shoreham air crash horror on Saturday.
Lee Cowen was driving his wife Becky and five-year-old twin children Dexter and Isabella on the A27 to Hove, East Sussex, from their home in the village of Lancing, West Sussex.
And, just two minutes after passing a junction, the 1950s Hawker Hunter jet smashed into the A27 after it failed to pull out of a loop manoeuvre during an aerial display.
As the Jewish Telegraph went to press, the death toll from the disaster was still believed to be 11.
Lee, who was born and raised in Manchester, said: “I use the A27 every day to get to work.
“We did not know what had happened until we reached our destination — then we realised how close we came to being involved.
“It is absolutely shocking, especially when I think something as simple as a red light or missing a turn-off at the roundabout could have put us in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The huge fireball came down near where Lee and his family had driven by.
“There is a grass verge, which we passed, where we saw spectators for the air show setting up their picnics,” the 46-year-old recalled.
“After I found out what had happened, I just thought, ‘Oh my God — what has happened to those people?’
“They had either been hit by the fireball or witnessed what happened. It is horrible, but those thoughts keep going through my mind.”
Lee and his family had watched the start of the air show from their garden on Saturday morning.
On Monday evening, they visited the toll bridge opposite the disaster site to place flowers and pay their respects.
“It was very eerie and so quiet there,” he added.
“Nobody was talking — everybody was just taking it all in.”