Texas Airshow: 2 vintage military planes collide in mid-air in Dallas, killing at least 2 on board. Here are the latest developments


Two World War II era military aircraft collided in the air and crashed at Dallas Executive Airport during an airshow Saturday afternoon, killing at least two people on board, authorities said.

More than 40 fire rescue units responded to the scene after the two vintage planes, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, crashed during the Wings Over Dallas airshow.

In video footage of the crash that the Dallas mayor described as “heartbreaking,” the planes are seen breaking up in mid-air after the collision, then hitting the ground within seconds, before bursting into flames.

These are the latest developments as investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are due to arrive on the scene on Sunday.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crash occurred around 1:20 p.m. Saturday. The number of victims has yet to be confirmed, according to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on Saturday.

The Allied Pilots Association, the union that represents American Airlines pilots, identified two retired pilots and former union members among those killed in the crash.

Former members Terry Barker and Len Root were part of the B-17 Flying Fortress crew during the airshow, said the APA on social media.

“Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues past and present,” the union said. The APA is offering professional counseling services at its headquarters in Fort Worth following the incident.

At a press conference on Saturday, Hank Coates, president and CEO of the Commemorative Air Force, an organization that preserves and maintains vintage military aircraft, told reporters that the B-17 “normally has a crew of four to five. That was what was in the plane”, while the P-63 is a “single-pilot fighter plane”.

“I can tell you that it was normally manned,” Coates said. “I cannot release the number of people on the manifest or the names on the manifest until I am authorized to do so by the NTSB.”

Debris from two planes that crashed during the airshow.  The B-17 was one of 45 complete surviving examples of the model, which was produced by Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers during World War II.

The Commemorative Air Force identified both aircraft as being based in Houston.

“We currently have no information on the status of the flight crews as emergency services are working on the accident,” a statement from the group said, adding that it is working with local authorities and the FAA.

No injuries to spectators or others on the ground were reported, although the debris field from the collision includes the grounds of Dallas Executive Airport, Highway 67 and a nearby shopping mall.

The B-17 was part of the Commemorative Air Force collection, nicknamed “texas raiders”, and had been kept on a hanger in Conroe, Texas, near Houston.

It was one of 45 complete surviving examples of the model, of which only nine were airworthy.

The P-63 was even rarer. Some 14 examples are known to survive, four of which in the US were airworthy, including one owned by the Commemorative Air Force.

More than 12,000 B-17s were produced by boeingDouglas Aircraft, and Lockheed between 1936 and 1945, with nearly 5,000 lost during the war and most of the rest scrapped in the early 1960s. Bell Aircraft produced about 3,300 P-63s between 1943 and 1945, and they were used primarily by the Soviet Air Force in World War II.

A frame from video taken at the airshow shows smoke rising after the crash.

The FAA was leading the investigation into Saturday’s air show accident, but it was scheduled to be turned over to the NTSB once its team arrived on the scene, Coates said.

On Saturday night, the NTSB said it is sending a team to investigate the collision. The team, consisting of technical experts who are regularly dispatched to plane crash sites, is expected to arrive on Sunday, the agency said.

According to Coates, the people who fly the aircraft at CAF air shows are volunteers and follow a strict training process. Many of them are airline pilots, retired airline pilots, or retired military pilots.

“The maneuvers that (the aircraft) were going through were not dynamic at all,” Coates said. “It was what we call ‘Bombers on Parade.'”

“This is not about the aircraft. It just isn’t,” Coates said. “I can tell you that the aircraft are excellent aircraft, they are safe. They are very well cared for. The pilots are very well trained. So it’s hard for me to talk about it, because I know all these people, they’re family and they’re good friends.”

mayor johnson he said in a tweet after the accident, “As many of you have already seen, we had a terrible tragedy in our city today during an air show. Many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time.”

“The videos are heartbreaking. Please pray for the souls who went to heaven to entertain and educate our families today,” Johnson said in another tweet.

The Wings Over Dallas event, which was scheduled for Sunday, has been canceled, according to the organizer’s website.

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