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Two planes collide in fiery mid-flight crash during World War II air show in Dallas

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As many as six people may have been on two World War II planes that collided Saturday during an air show in Dallas, an organizer said.

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

“At this time, it is unknown how many people were on either plane,” the FAA said in a statement.

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

Authorities have not confirmed any deaths.

There were no reports of injuries on the ground, but Dallas mayor Eric Johnson said the debris field from the collision includes parts of the Executive Airport site, Highway 67 and a nearby shopping center.

Hank Coates, CEO and president of Commemorative Air Force, the organization behind the show, said a total of six people could have been on the two planes.

The B-17 would normally have a crew of four or five, and the Kingcobra would only have a pilot, Coates said at a news conference Saturday night.

There were no paying customers aboard the B-17, he said.

Because family needs to be notified of potential fatalities, and because federal investigators have taken over jurisdiction, Coates said he can’t release manifestos or information about fatalities.

Both planes were part of the nonprofit’s fleet of 180 aircraft used in its own air shows and those of other groups to demonstrate how the planes were used in World War II.

“This was a flying demonstration during World War II,” Coates said. “It’s very patriotic.”

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

He said the planes are carefully maintained and the pilots are not only experienced – often from the world of passenger aircraft or military flights or both – but the CAF does its own vetting and preparation.

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

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

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

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

Emergency services rushed to the crash site at the Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles from the city center.

Live TV news footage of the scene showed people lining up orange cones around the crumpled wreckage of the bomber, which was located in a grassy field.

Videos of the scene showing the aftermath, captured by a spectatorshows smoke and flames roaring 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 a mid-air collision.

Morgan Curry, who said he witnessed the crash from a nearby parking lot, told… the station“I really can’t believe we witnessed that, as if we were just standing under it.”

“It’s like you literally looked up, you saw the big plane and then you saw one of the small planes split off from the three and then as soon as it split off, it’s like they just crashed into each other and the small plane split. the big plane in half,” said Curry.

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

“I just stood there. I was in complete shock and disbelief,” said Montoya. “Everyone in the neighborhood was snapping. Everyone burst into tears. Everyone was shocked.”

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

The B-17, an immense four-engined bomber, was a cornerstone of the United States Air Force during World War II. The Kingcobra, an American fighter jet, was mainly used by Soviet troops during the war. Most of the B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II, and only a handful remain today, most of which are on display in museums and air shows, according to Boeing.

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

“It was really horrific to watch,” Aubrey Anne Young, 37, of Leander, Texas, who saw the crash. Her children were in the hangar with their father when it happened. “I’m still trying to understand.”

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

The safety of air shows – especially on older military aircraft – has been a concern for years. In 2011, 11 people were killed in Reno, Nevada, when a P-51 Mustang crashed into onlookers. In 2019, a bomber crashed in Hartford, Connecticut, killing seven people. The National Transportation Safety Board then said it had investigated 21 World War II bomber accidents, with 23 fatalities.

Wings Over Dallas calls itself “America’s Premier World War II Airshow,” according to a website promoting the event. The show was scheduled from Friday through Sunday, the weekend of Veterans Day, and guests would see more than 40 World War II aircraft. Sunday’s show has been cancelled.

Organizer Coates said the maneuvers performed before the collision were not complicated. He called such an accident “very rare”.

“This isn’t about the plane,” he said. “They are safe, they are very well maintained.”

The FAA said neither it nor the NTSB are identifying people involved in plane crashes.

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


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