Two World War II-era military planes collided mid-air and crashed into Dallas Executive Airport during Saturday afternoon’s air show, killing everyone on board.
More than 40 fire and rescue teams responded to the scene after two vintage planes, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, crashed at the Wings Over Dallas air show.
Video footage of the crash, which the mayor of Dallas described as “heartbreaking,” shows the plane falling apart in mid-air after the crash, then hitting the ground and bursting into flames within seconds.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to arrive at the scene on Sunday, so here are the latest developments.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the crash occurred around 1:20 p.m. Saturday. The number of casualties has not yet been confirmed, according to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on Saturday.
The Union Pilots Association, the union representing American Airlines pilots, has identified two retired and former members of the pilot who died in the crash.
Former members Terry Barker and Len Root were crew members of the B-17 Flying Fortress during the air show. APA said on social media:.
“Our hearts go out to family, friends and colleagues past and present,” the union said.
Barker’s death, a former city council member of Keller, Texas, was also announced Sunday morning by Keller Mayor Armin Mizani in a Facebook post.
“Keller is saddened to learn that her husband, father, veteran and former Keller City Council member Terry Barker was one of the victims of the tragic crash at the Dallas Air Show. I am overwhelmed,” Mizani wrote.
“Terry Barker was loved by many. He was a friend and someone I often looked to for guidance. ‘s love was undeniable.”
At a press conference on Saturday, Hank Coates, president and CEO of Memorial Air Force, an organization that preserves and maintains vintage military aircraft, told reporters that the B-17 “usually carries four to five people. While the P-63 was a “single-engine fighter”, that was what was in the airframe.
“I would say it was usually manned,” Coates said. “Until they are released from the NTSB, we cannot release the numbers or names listed in the manifesto.”
Memorial Air Force has identified both aircraft as being based in Houston.
“As emergency responders are currently dealing with the incident, we do not have information on the crew’s status,” the group said in a statement, adding that it was cooperating with local authorities and the FAA.
While the Dallas Executive Airport grounds, Highway 67, and a nearby strip mall are among the fields of crash debris, no injuries have been reported to spectators or others on the ground.
The B-17 was part of the Memorial Air Force collection, nicknamed the “Texas Raiders”, and was stored in a hangar in Conroe, Texas, near Houston.
It was one of about 45 fully extant models, of which only 9 were airworthy.
The P-63 was even rarer. About 14 are known to exist, four of which were airworthy in the United States, including one owned by the Memorial Air Force.
Over 12,000 B-17s were built by Boeing, Douglas Aircraft and Lockheed between 1936 and 1945, nearly 5,000 were lost during the war, and most of the rest were scrapped by the early 1960s. . About 3,300 P-63s were built by Bell Aircraft between 1943 and 1945 and were used primarily by the Soviet Air Force in World War II.
The FAA was leading an investigation into Saturday’s air show crash, but the investigation was due to be handed over to the NTSB once a team from the NTSB arrived on the scene.
On Saturday evening, the NTSB said it was sending a team to investigate the crash. A team of technical experts who are regularly sent to plane crash sites is expected to arrive on Sunday, the agency said.
According to Coates, volunteers fly the aircraft at CAF air shows and follow a rigorous training process. Many of them are airline pilots, retired airline pilots, or retired military pilots.
“The maneuvers they (the aircraft) were doing weren’t dynamic at all,” Coates noted. “It was what we call ‘Bombers on Parade.
“This is not about aircraft. It’s not,” Coates said. “The aircraft are great aircraft and I can say they are safe. They are very well maintained. The pilots are very well trained. I know, so it’s hard to talk about it.”
mayor johnson said in a tweet after the crash“As many are now seeing, there was a terrible tragedy in our city during today’s air show. Many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time.”
“The video is heartbreaking. Please pray for the souls who took to the skies to entertain and educate our families today,” Johnson said in another tweet.
The Wings Over Dallas event, which was scheduled to run through Sunday, has been canceled, according to the organizer’s website.