DALLAS — Two World War II-era airplanes collided in midair at an air show in Dallas on Saturday, the authorities said, turning the commemorative Veterans Day weekend event into a scene of horror.
The planes — a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra — crashed at about 1:20 p.m. local time, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The accident occurred at Dallas Executive Airport’s Wings Over Dallas airshow, about 10 miles from downtown Dallas.
Online videos showed a fast, agile plane crashing into a larger aircraft while horrified viewers watched.
Leah Block is the vice president for marketing at the Commemorative Air ForceAlthough the organization behind the air show could not confirm the exact number of casualties or who was involved in the crash, it said that the Kingcobra was one-seater and the Flying Fortress had at least four or five people. According to its website the Commemorative A Force restores and preserves World War II combat aircraft.
Hank Coates, the president of the Commemorative Air Force, said at a news conference that the group’s pilots were well-trained and licensed volunteers, typically former airline or military pilots. He said that an air show such as this could be a victim of a midair crash. “extremely rare.”
Paul Martin is a member the Army Air Forces Historical AssociationAccording to, the Flying Fortress was a lumbering fighter bomber similar to a “tractor-trailer truck,” It was large enough to carry a crew up to 10 or 11 people. The Kingcobra, on the other hand, was a single-pilot fighter jet.
He said that it was rare to find either aircraft in flying condition. He said he was aware of only about nine B-17’s in flying condition and only one P-63 Kingcobra — before Saturday’s crash.
“It’s heartbreaking for me to hear this, both on a human level and a historical level,” He stated.
The F.A.A. The F.A.A.A. will investigate the accident, as will the National Transportation Safety Board. said.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said on social media There were no injuries reported to either spectators or ground-level attendees on Saturday. He stated that there was still much to be known or confirmed about the crash.
“The videos are heartbreaking,” He stated. “Please, say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today.”
Ms. Block stated that there were approximately 4,000 people attending the event. It is an educational event about World War II history, and to honor veterans. The group was the owner of the two planes involved in the accident, as well as more than 180 other aircraft at 60 locations throughout the country. On Saturday, the event saw about 15 planes participating.
Christopher Kratovil is a Dallas lawyer who took his 12-year old daughter Kelsey along to Saturday’s show. Kelsey loves history and was accompanied by her father. Mr. Kratovil stated that his father used take him to air shows as a child.
“It’s just an amazing thing to see these aircraft that you read about in the pages of a history book, there and tangible, and you see them flying and operating,” He stated.
According to him, there were at least eight aircraft in the air at once, including bombers such as the Flying Fortress, and fighters such as the Kingcobra. A narrator described the significance of each aircraft and patriotic music played in the background.
According to Mr. Kratovil, the Flying Fortress was doing a flyby in front of the crowd. This is a common maneuver meant to give attendees a better view.
The explosion was then visible to him.
He thought it might be pyrotechnics at first, but quickly realized that there was no way to do any midair pyrotechnics. He saw a wing drop from the B-17, then the fuselage fell to the ground. There were fireballs and a loud crash.
“It hit me all of a sudden: This is real. You’re watching a B-17 crash,” He stated. “It was just a horrific thing to see and a horrific thing to witness with one of my children.”
Another B-17 bomber, also from the United States, was involved in a fatal crash in 2019. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, seven people died when a Flying Fortress, which took off from Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Conn., collided with a deicing facility just after takeoff. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, pilot error and poor maintenance were factors in the crash.
Mr. Martin from the historical group watched the videos over and over on Saturday night but couldn’t make sense of what was happening.
“To see that Kingcobra fly into the B-17 is mind-boggling to me,” He stated. “How do you miss it?”
“It’s not like the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels that are highly skilled pilots and practice and practice and try to fly within feet of each other,” He also spoke of the well-known demonstration units. “These are show planes. These are 80-year-old aircraft.”
April Rubin Contributed reporting