Six dead after two planes collide in fiery flight crash at WWII air show in Dallas

Six people were killed after two historic military planes collided and crashed into the ground Saturday afternoon during an air show in Dallas, officials said.

“According to our Dallas County Medical Examiner, there were a total of 6 deaths during yesterday’s Wings over Dallas air show incident,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. tweeted sunday. He said authorities were continuing to work to identify the victims.

The Allied Pilots Association, the union for American Airlines pilots, said the Twitter that two of its former members, Terry Barker and Len Root, were aboard the B-17 and had died.

The crash happened around 1:20 p.m. Saturday, when the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport, according to information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration.

No injuries on the ground were reported, but Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the debris field from the collision included parts of the Executive Airport grounds, Highway 67 and a shopping mall. shopping nearby.

The B-17 would normally have a crew of four or five, and the Kingcobra would have just one pilot, Hank Coates, CEO and president of Commemorative Air Force, the organization behind the show, told a conference. Saturday night press.

No paying customers were on board the B-17, he said.

Because the family must be notified of any possible deaths and because federal investigators have assumed jurisdiction, Coates said he was unable to release manifestos or death information.

The two planes were part of the non-profit organization’s fleet of 180 planes used in its own air shows and those of other groups to demonstrate how the planes were used during World War II.

“It was a WWII-style flight demonstration air show,” Coates said. “It’s very patriotic.”

There was about an hour left in the show when the collision happened, he said.

He said the planes are meticulously maintained and the pilots are not only experienced — often from the world of airliners or military flying or both — but the CAF do their own checking and preparation.

“There is a very strict vetting and training process,” Coates said.

The show was the organization’s seventh year in Dallas, where at least 4,000 people attended Saturday, organizers said.

Johnson said the National Transportation Safety Board would take command of the scene and investigation. Coates said the NTSB was to take command later Saturday night from the FAA.

“As many of you saw, we had a terrible tragedy in our city today at an air show,” Johnson said. “Many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time.”

Emergency crews rushed to the scene of the crash at Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles from the city’s downtown.

Live television news footage from the scene showed people setting up orange cones around the crumpled wreckage of the bomber, which was in a grassy area.

Videos of the scene showing the aftermath, captured by a spectatorshows smoke and flames rising above the crash site.

Photos of the scene, including one shared by NBC Dallas-Fort Worthshow a cloud of smoke over the crash site where the planes landed after colliding in mid-air.

Morgan Curry, who said he witnessed the crash from a nearby parking lot, said the train station“I honestly can’t believe we witnessed this, like we were right down here.”

“It’s like literally when you looked up, you saw the big plane, then you saw one of the little planes separate from the three, and then as soon as it separated, it’s like s ‘they had just collided and the small plane split the big plane in two,’ Curry said.

Anthony Montoya, 27, was at the air show with a friend and saw the two planes collide.

“I just stayed there. I was completely shocked and in disbelief,” Montoya said. “Everyone around was panting. Everyone was bursting into tears. Everyone was in shock. »

The two planes involved in the collision did not see combat in World War II but were not replicas, the Commemorative Air Force said.

The B-17, a huge four-engined bomber, was a cornerstone of American air power during World War II. The Kingcobra, an American fighter aircraft, was used primarily by Soviet forces during the war. Most B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II and only a handful remain today, widely displayed in museums and air shows, according to Boeing.

Multiple videos posted to Twitter showed the fighter jet appearing to fly into the bomber, causing it to quickly crash to the ground and unleash a large ball of fire and smoke.

“It was really horrible to see,” Aubrey Anne Young, 37, of Leander, Texas, who saw the crash. His children were inside the shed with their father when it happened. “I’m still trying to make sense of it.”

A woman next to Young can be heard crying and screaming hysterically in a video Young uploaded to her Facebook page.

Airshow safety – especially with older military aircraft – has been a concern for years. In 2011, 11 people were killed in Reno, Nevada, when a P-51 Mustang rammed spectators. In 2019, a bomber crashed in Hartford, Connecticut, killing seven people. The National Transportation Safety Board then said it had investigated 21 crashes since 1982 involving World War II bombers, resulting in the deaths of 23 people.

Wings Over Dallas bills itself as “America’s premier WWII airshow,” according to a website advertising the event. The show was scheduled for Friday through Sunday, Veterans Day weekend, and guests were expected to see more than 40 World War II aircraft. Sunday’s show is cancelled.

Organizer Coates said the maneuvers carried out before the collision were uncomplicated. He called such an accident “very rare”.

“It’s not about the plane,” he said. “They are safe, they are very well maintained.”

The FAA said neither it nor the NTSB identifies those involved in plane crashes.

Coates said the number of people involved and their identities will be released upon notification to next of kin with NTSB approval.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *