DALLAS — Two World War II-era planes collided in mid-air at an air show in Dallas on Saturday, turning the Veterans Day weekend event into a horrific scene, authorities said.
The FAA said the two planes — a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Gold Cobra — crashed around 1:20 p.m. local time. The crash happened at the Dallas Air Show at Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles south of downtown Dallas.
Video posted online appeared to show a fast, nimble plane crashing into a larger plane as terrified onlookers watched.
Memorial Air Force marketing vice president Leah Block, the organization behind the airshow, could not confirm how many people were involved in the crash or casualties, but said the Kingcobra was single-seater and the Flying Fortress likely had four or five people on board. According to its website, the Memorial Air Force is restoring and preserving World War II-era fighter jets.
Memorial Air Force President Hank Coates said in a news conference that the organization’s pilots are trained and licensed volunteers, usually former airline or military pilots. A mid-air collision at an airshow like this is “extremely rare,” he said.
Army Air Force Historical Society member Paul Martin said the Flying Fortress was a bulky bomber, like a “tractor truck” big enough to carry a crew of 10 or 11, while the Gold Cobra was a one-man fighter jet.
He said it was rare for both planes to be in flight condition. Before Saturday’s crash, he said, he only knew about nine B-17s in flight condition and only one P-63 Kingcobra.
“It breaks my heart to hear this, both on a human level and on a historical level,” he said.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, the FAA said.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson say on social media There were no reports of injuries to spectators or people on the ground Saturday. Much about the crash remains unknown or unproven, he said.
“These videos are heartbreaking,” he said. “Please pray for the souls that take to the skies today to entertain and educate our families.”
Mrs. The event, which was attended by about 4,000 people, was designed to educate people about World War II history and honor the contributions of veterans, Bullock said. The group owns the two crashed planes and more than 180 other planes at 60 locations across the country, she said. About 15 aircraft participated in the event on Saturday.
Dallas attorney Christopher Kratowell took his 12-year-old daughter Kelsey to the air show Saturday. gentlemen. Kratoville said his father used to take him to air shows when he was a kid.
“It’s an amazing thing to see these planes that you read about on the pages of history, where and in tangible form, and you see them fly and operate,” he said.
He said there were several planes flying at the same time, about eight, ranging from bombers like the Flying Fortress to fighter jets like the Gold Cobra. The event included a narrator describing the importance of the plane, with patriotic music playing in the background.
gentlemen. The Flying Fortress appeared to be flying near crowds, a common move to give attendees a good look, Kratoville said.
Then he saw the explosion.
His first thought was that it could be pyrotechnics, but he quickly realized there was no way to do aerial pyrotechnics. He then saw one of the B-17’s wings fall off, then the fuselage fell to the ground, followed by a fireball and a loud bang.
“It hit me out of nowhere: it’s true. You’re watching the B-17 crash,” he said. “It’s just a horrible thing, and it’s a horrible thing to witness with one of my children.”
In 2019, another B-17 bomber was involved in a fatal crash. A Flying Fortress from Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Connecticut, crashed into a de-icing facility shortly after takeoff, killing seven people, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The agency found pilot error and inadequate maintenance contributed to the crash.
gentlemen. Martin, from the History Organization, watched the video online over and over Saturday night and struggled to understand the crash.
“Seeing the Gold Cobra flying into the B-17 was unbelievable to me,” he said. “How did you miss it?”
“It’s not like Thunderbirds or Blue Angels are skilled pilots who practice and practice and try to fly within distance of each other,” he added, referring to the famous demonstration squad. “These are show planes. These are 80-year-old planes.”
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