Two planes collide and crash during an air show in Dallas

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DALLAS — Two historic military planes collided and crashed into the ground Saturday during an air show in Dallas, 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.

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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.

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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.

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Anthony Montoya saw the two planes collide.

“I just stayed 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.

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“The videos are heartbreaking,” Johnson said on Twitter.

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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.

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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.

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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 expected to see more than 40 planes dating back to World War II. Its Saturday afternoon schedule included flight demonstrations including a “bomber parade” and “fighter escorts” featuring the B-17s and P-63s.

Videos of previous Wings Over Dallas events show vintage warplanes 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.

– Bleeding reported from Little Rock, Arkansas.

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Some recent fatal accidents involving vintage aircraft

Saturday’s collision between two World War II military planes at an air show in Dallas was the latest in a long list of accidents involving vintage aircraft used or designed for military purposes. Some recent fatal accidents in the United States and abroad:

– October 2, 2019: A four-engine, propeller-driven B-17G Flying Fortress bomber with 13 people on board crashed at Bradley International Airport, north of Hartford, Connecticut, during a traveling show of vintage aircraft. Seven people were killed and six were injured. The National Transportation Safety Board found pilot error to be the probable cause, with improper maintenance a contributing factor.

– November 17, 2018: A privately owned vintage World War II Mustang fighter jet crashed into the parking lot of an apartment complex in Fredericksburg, Texas, killing the pilot and one passenger. The P-51D Mustang was returning after performing a flyover during a living history show at the National Museum of the Pacific War. The aircraft was destroyed and several vehicles in the parking lot were damaged.

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– August 4, 2018: A 79-year-old Junkers Ju-52 plane operated by the Swiss company Ju-Air plunged into the Piz Segnas mountain near the ski resort of Flims in eastern Switzerland, killing all 20 people in edge. Retired from the Swiss Air Force in 1981, the German-built aircraft carried tourists who wanted to take “adventure flights” to experience the country’s landscape in vintage planes. Swiss investigators said the pilots’ “high-risk flight” led to the crash.

– May 30, 2018: A small vintage plane that was part of a GEICO stunt team along with five other planes crashed into a wooded residential area in Melville, New York, killing the pilot. The World War II SNJ-2 plane, known as the North American T-6 Texan, had taken off from a nearby airport and was heading for Maryland when it crashed.

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– July 16, 2017: A pilot and an airport manager were killed in Cummings, Kansas, after their World War II-era P-51D Mustang “Baby Duck” crashed in a field. Authorities say the pilot was recreating a stunt he performed the day before at the Amelia Earhart Festival.

– January 26, 2017: A World War II-era Grumman G-73 Mallard seaplane stalled and plunged into the Swan River in Perth, Australia during Australia Day celebrations. The pilot and his passenger died.

– August 27, 2016 – An Alaskan pilot was killed when his 450 Stearman biplane, a World War II aircraft often used for military training, crashed during the Airshow of the Cascades in Madras, Oregon.

– July 17, 2016 – A T-28 Trojan, used by the US military as a training aircraft from the 1950s and also as a counter-insurgency aircraft during the Vietnam War, crashed at Cold Lake Air Show in Alberta, killing the pilot. Thousands of spectators witnessed the accident.

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– August 22, 2015 – A 1950s Hawker Hunter T7 jet plane crashed on a busy motorway near West Sussex, England, killing 11 people and injuring more than a dozen others. Investigators said the pilot, who survived, was flying too low and slow to complete a loop. He was charged with 11 counts of manslaughter but was ultimately cleared.

– 22 June 2013 – A pilot and a wing walker were killed when their WWII Boeing-Stearman IB75A biplane crashed into the ground and burst into flames during a performance at the Vectren Dayton Air Show at Vandalia , Ohio. Thousands of onlookers watched the crash, which federal safety investigators say was likely caused by pilot error.

– September 16, 2011 – The pilot of a 70-year-old modified P-51D Mustang called the Galloping Ghost lost control of the aircraft during the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada, and crashed crashed into spectators, killing 10 and injuring over 60. The pilot also died. Federal investigators blamed the accident on worn parts and speed.

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