Texas: Vintage military plane collides in midair during air show in Dallas



CNN

A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed at the Wings Over Dallas airshow around 1:20 p.m. Saturday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Authorities responded to the incident at Dallas Executive Airport, Dallas Fire-Rescue’s Jason Evans told CNN on Saturday.

The death toll in the crash was still unconfirmed as of Saturday afternoon, according to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.

There were more than 40 fire rescue units at the scene after the collision, the agency’s active incidents page shows.

At a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Hank Coates, president and CEO of the Commemorative Air Force, told reporters that the B-17 “normally has a crew of four to five people. It was what was on the plane”, while the P-63 is a “single-pilot fighter type aircraft”.

“I can tell you he was normally equipped,” Coates said. “I cannot release the number of people in the manifesto or the names on the manifesto until I have been cleared to do so by the NTSB.”

The Commemorative Air Force identified both planes as being out of Houston.

“Currently, we have no information on the status of the flight crews as emergency responders are working on the accident,” a statement from the group said, adding that it is working with local authorities and the FAA.

The FAA is currently leading the investigation, which should be turned over to the NTSB around 9 p.m. when the NTSB team arrives on the scene, Coates said.

“The maneuvers they [the aircraft] were going through weren’t dynamic at all,” Coates noted. “It was what we call ‘Bombers on Parade’.”

Johnson tweeted later Saturday that no spectators or others on the ground were injured, although the debris field from the collision included the grounds of Dallas Executive Airport, Highway 67 and a shopping mall in proximity.

The event, which was scheduled to run through Sunday, has been canceled, according to the organizer’s website.

Johnson said in a tweet after the crash“As many of you have seen, we had a terrible tragedy in our city today during an airshow. Many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time.

“The videos are heartbreaking. Please say a prayer for the souls who soared to entertain and educate our families today,” Johnson said in a separate tweet.

Both the southbound and northbound lanes of the highway were closed after the incident, the Dallas Police Department said.

“It’s not about the plane. It just isn’t,” Coates said at the press conference. “I can tell you planes are great planes, they’re safe. “They’re very well maintained. The pilots are very well trained. So it’s hard for me to talk about them, because I know all these people, they’re family, and they’re good friends.

According to Coates, the people who fly the plane at CAF air shows are volunteers and go through a strict training process. Many of them are airline pilots, retired airline pilots or retired military pilots, Coates said.

The B-17 was part of the Commemorative Air Force collection, nicknamed “Texas Raiders”, and had been hung in Conroe, Texas, near Houston. It was one of approximately 45 surviving complete examples of the design, of which only nine were airworthy.

The P-63 was even rarer. It is known that 14 examples survived, of which four in the United States were airworthy, including one belonging to the Commemorative Air Force.

More than 12,000 B-17s were produced by Boeing, Douglas Aircraft and Lockheed between 1936 and 1945, with nearly 5,000 lost during the war, and most of the remainder scrapped by the early 1960s. About 3,300 P -63 were produced by Bell Aircraft between 1943 and 1945 and were used primarily by the Soviet Air Force during World War II.

This is a developing story.

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