6 dead after vintage plane collision at Dallas Air Show

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DALLAS (TBEN) — Six people have been killed after two historic military planes collided and crashed to the ground on Saturday afternoon during an air show in Dallas.

“According to our Dallas County Medical Examiner, there are a total of 6 fatalities from yesterday’s Wings over Dallas air show incident,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted sunday. He said authorities are continuing to identify the victims.

Emergency services rushed to the crash site at the Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the city center. News footage of the scene showed crumpled wreckage from the planes in a grassy area within the airport perimeter. Dallas Fire-Rescue told The Dallas Morning News there were no reported injuries to people on the ground.

Anthony Montoya saw the two planes collide.

“I just stood there. I was in complete shock and disbelief,” said Montoya, 27, who attended the air show with a friend. “Everyone in the neighborhood was snapping. Everyone burst into tears. Everyone was shocked.”

Officials didn’t specify how many people were on each plane, but Hank Coates, president of the company that set up the airshow, said one of the planes, a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, usually has a crew of four to five people. . The other, a P-63 Kingcobra fighter, has a single pilot.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the National Transportation Safety Board had taken control of the accident site, with support from local police and fire departments.

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

In this photo by Nathaniel Ross Photography, a historic military plane crashes after colliding with another plane during an air show at Dallas Executive Airport in Dallas on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. (Nathaniel Ross Photography via TBEN)

The planes collided and crashed around 1:20 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The collision occurred during the Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Dallas show.

Victoria Yeager, the widow of famed Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager and pilot herself, was also on the show. She didn’t see the collision, but she did see the burning wreckage.

“It was pulverized,” says Yeager, 64, who lives in Fort Worth.

“We just hoped they all got out, but we knew they didn’t,” she said of the people on board.

Several videos on social media 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 NTSB said it had investigated 21 World War II bomber accidents since 1982, with 23 fatalities.

Arthur Alan Wolk is an aviation lawyer in Philadelphia who flew in air shows for 12 years. After watching the video from the air show and hearing the maneuvers described as “bombers on parade,” Wolk told the The Bharat Express News on Sunday that the P-63 pilot violated the basic rule of formation flying.

“He went belly up to the leader,” Wolk said. “That prevents him from measuring distance and position. The chance of a collision is very high if you can’t see who you should be in formation with and that kind of merging is not allowed.”

He added: “I don’t blame anyone and as far as possible air shows, the pilots and the planes that fly in them are safe. Air shows are one of the biggest spectator events in America and it is rare for a tragedy like this to occur.”

Wolk said it takes extensive training and discipline to fly in an air show environment. The air show qualifications of the P-63 pilot are unknown.

The FAA also launched an investigation, officials said.

Bleeding reported from Little Rock, Arkansas. Bobby Caina Calvan in New York City, Ken Miller in Oklahoma City, and Dave Kolpack in Fargo, ND contributed to this report.

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