Six people were killed when two historic military aircraft crashed into the ground Saturday afternoon during the Dallas Air Show, officials said.
“According to our Dallas County Medical Examiner, the Dallas Air Show incident resulted in a total of 6 fatalities in yesterday’s Wings,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. tweeted on Sunday. He said the authorities are continuing to identify the victims.
said the American Airlines Pilots Association Twitter Its former members, Terry Barker and Len Rudd, died aboard the B-17.
According to information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, the crash occurred around 1:20 p.m. Saturday when a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell B-63 Kingobra collided at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport.
There were no injuries on the ground, but Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the debris field from the collision included the Executive Airport grounds, Highway 67 and a nearby strip mall.
The B-17 typically has a crew of four or five, and the Kingobra has only one pilot, Hank Coates, CEO and president of the Air Force Memorial, the organization behind the program, said at a news conference Saturday evening.
The B-17 has no paying customers, he said.
Coates said he could not make disclosures or information about the deaths public because families must be notified of possible casualties and because federal investigators have taken over jurisdiction.
Both planes were part of the nonprofit organization’s 180 aircraft that were used in its own air displays and to demonstrate how other groups’ planes were used in World War II.
“It’s kind of a World War II air-to-air show,” Coates said. “It’s very patriotic.”
It was about an hour into the show when the collision happened, he said.
The planes are meticulously maintained, and the pilots are not only experienced — often from the worlds of passenger jets or military aircraft, or both — but the CAF does its own testing and production.
“There is a very rigorous process of vetting and training,” Coates said.
The event is the organization’s seventh year in Dallas, where at least 4,000 people attended Saturday, organizers said.
Johnson said The National Transportation Safety Board will command the scene and investigation. Coates said the NTSB will take command Saturday night from the FAA.
“As many of you have seen by now, there was a terrible tragedy in our city today during an air show,” Johnson said. “Many details are unknown or unconfirmed at this time.”
Emergency crews rushed to the scene of the crash at Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles from the city’s downtown.
Live television news footage from the scene showed orange cones being erected around the crumpled wreckage of the bomber in a grassy area.
Videos of the scene showing the aftermath, Captured by a viewerShows smoke and flames billowing above the crash site.
Photos from the scene, including one Shared by NBC Dallas-Fort WorthShow the smoke cloud at the crash site where the planes landed after hitting the air.
Morgan Curry said he witnessed the crash from a nearby parking lot Station“I honestly can’t believe we were witnessing it like standing here under it.”
“When you looked up you saw the big plane and then you saw one of the smaller planes separate from the three and then as it separated it looked like they collided with each other and the smaller plane separated from the larger plane. The plane is in half,” Curry said.
Anthony Montoya, 27, was at an air show with a friend when he saw two planes collide.
“I just stood there. I was in complete shock and disbelief,” Montoya said. “Everyone around was gasping. Everyone was in tears. Everyone was in shock.”
The two planes involved in the conflict did not see combat in World War II, but are not replicas, the Air Force Memorial said.
The B-17, a massive four-engine bomber, was a cornerstone of American air power during World War II. The Kingobra, an American fighter aircraft, was often used by Soviet forces during the war. Most of the B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II, and only a few remain, mostly in museums and air displays, according to Boeing.
Several videos posted on Twitter showed the fighter jet flying into the bombers, causing them to quickly crash into the ground and erupt in a huge ball of fire and smoke.
Aubrey Anne Young, 37, of Leander, Texas, who saw the crash, said, “It was horrible to see. Her children were inside the hangar with their father when it happened. “I’m still trying to figure it out.”
In a video Young uploaded to her Facebook page, a woman next to Young can be heard frantically crying and screaming.
Air show 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 spectators. In 2019, a bomber crashed in Hartford, Connecticut. Killed seven people. The National Transportation Safety Board said it has investigated 21 accidents involving World War II-era bombers since 1982, resulting in 23 deaths.
Wings Over Dallas bills itself as “America’s Premier World War II Airshow,” according to a website promoting the event. The show is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, leading up to Veterans Day weekend, and guests will see more than 40 World War II-era aircraft. Sunday’s event has been cancelled.
Organizer Coates said the maneuvers carried out before the collision were not complicated. Such an accident, he called, was “extremely rare.”
“It’s not about the airplane,” he said. “They’re safe, they’re well cared for.”
Neither the FAA nor the NTSB has identified the people involved in the plane crashes.
Coates said the number of people involved and their identities will be released after next-of-kin notification with approval from the NTSB.