2 WWII planes crash midair during air show in US’ Dallas; 6 feared dead

Videos of the incident showed two aircraft – a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra – exploding into a ball of flames and sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky

2 WWII planes crash midair in Dallas, World War II aircraft collide, six feared dead as two planes collide in Dallas, six dead in Dallas plane crash
A screen grab of the crash. Photo: Twitter

At least six people are feared to have been killed after two World War II planes collided with each other midair at an air show in Dallas on Saturday (November 12).

While officials have not confirmed about any casualties, reports said six people were on board on the two aircrafts and all are feared dead.

Videos of the incident showed two aircraft – a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra – exploding into a ball of flames and sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.

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Leah Block, a spokesperson for Commemorative Air Force, which produced the Veterans’ Day weekend show and owned the crashed aircraft, told ABC News she believed there were five crew members on the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and one aboard the P-63 Kingcobra fighter plane. The Houston-based aircraft were not giving rides to paying customers at the time, she said.

Emergency crews raced to the crash scene at the Dallas Executive Airport, about 16 km from the city’s downtown. Live TV news footage from the scene showed people setting up orange cones around the crumpled wreckage of the bomber, which was in a grassy area. Anthony Montoya saw the two planes collide. “I just stood there. I was in complete shock and disbelief,” Montoya, 27, who attended the air show with a friend told PTI.

“Everybody around was gasping. Everybody was bursting into tears. Everybody was in shock.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the National Transportation Safety Board had taken control of the crash scene with local police and fire providing support. “The videos are heartbreaking,” Johnson said on Twitter.

“The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra 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.

The B-17, an immense four-engine bomber, was a cornerstone of US air power during World War II and is one of the most celebrated warplanes in U.S. history. The Kingcobra, a US fighter plane, was used mostly by Soviet forces during the war. Most B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II and only a handful remain today, largely featured at museums and air shows, according to Boeing.

Several videos posted on social media showed the fighter plane appearing to fly into the bomber, causing them to quickly crash to the ground and setting off a large ball of fire and smoke. “It was really horrific to see,” Aubrey Anne Young, 37, of Leander. Texas, who saw the crash. Her children were inside the hangar with their father when it occurred. “I’m still trying to make sense of it.”

Air show safety – particularly 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, killing seven people. The NTSB said then that it had investigated 21 accidents since 1982 involving World War II-era bombers, resulting in 23 deaths.

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Wings Over Dallas bills itself as America’s Premier World War II Airshow, according to a website advertising the event. The show was scheduled for November 11-13, Veterans Day weekend, and guests were to see more than 40 World War II-era aircrafts. It’s Saturday afternoon schedule included flying demonstrations including a bomber parade and fighter escorts featured the B-17 and P-63.

(With inputs from agencies)