Two historic military planes collided and crashed into the ground during an air show in Dallas on Saturday, exploding in a ball of flame and sending plumes of black smoke into the sky. It was unclear how many people were on the plane or if anyone on the ground was injured.
Leah Block, a spokeswoman for Commemorative Air Force, which produced the Veterans Day weekend show and owned the crashed plane, told ABC News she believed there was five crew members on the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and one aboard the P-63 Kingcobra fighter. plane. The Houston-based plane was not offering rides to paying customers at the time, she said.
Emergency crews rushed to the scene of the crash at Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles from 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.
Anthony Montoya saw the two planes collide.
“I just stood there. I was completely shocked and in disbelief,” said Montoya, 27, who attended the air show with a friend. “Everyone around was panting. Everyone was bursting into tears. Everyone was in shock.”
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the National Transportation Safety Board took control of the crash scene with local police and firefighters in support.
“The videos are heartbreaking,” Johnson said on Twitter.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed around 1:20 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The collision happened during the Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Dallas show.
Victoria Yeager, the widow of famed Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager and a pilot herself, was also present at the show. She did not see the collision, but did see the burning wreckage.
“He was pulverized,” said Yeager, 64, who lives in Forth Worth.
“We just hoped they were all out, but we knew they weren’t,” she said of those on board.
The B-17, a huge four-engined bomber, was a cornerstone of American air power during World War II and is one of the most famous combat aircraft in US history. 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 on social media 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 crashed into onlookers. In 2019, a bomber crashed in Hartford, Connecticut, killing seven people. The NTSB 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 November 11-13, Veterans Day weekend, and guests were to see more than 40 World War II-era aircraft. Its Saturday afternoon program included flight demonstrations including a “bomber parade” and “fighter escorts” featuring the B-17 and P-63.
Videos of previous Wings Over Dallas events show vintage fighter jets flying low, sometimes in close formation, in simulated strafing or bombing runs. The videos also show the planes performing aerobatics.
The FAA has also launched an investigation, officials said.
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