Planes crash in mid-air at Wings Over Dallas event, sending debris flying
Six people are feared dead after a historic World War II-era B-17 Flying Fortress slammed into a P-63 Kingcobra plane in midair outside of Dallas, Texas on Saturday.
The two World War II-era planes collided in mid-air at the Wings Over Dallas event, sending debris flying and igniting a fire nearby.
Jason Evans, a Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman, told the Dallas Morning News that the crash occurred at around 1.30pm above the Dallas Executive Airport.
Video posted online shows a Boeing B17 Flying Fortress bomber approaching the flight path of a Bell P-63 Kingcobra. The bomber appears to fly by the P-63’s blindspot and the planes collide, ripping each other to shreds.
The front of the B17 split off from its rears as its wings caught on fire and it spiraled to the ground nearby.
One man who was at the air show said the P-63 was banking left at the time and had the B17 in his blind spot so he could not prepare for the impending crash.
The Flying Fortress is like a ‘tractor-trailer truck,’ big enough to carry a crew of 10 or 11 people, while the Kingcobra is a single-pilot fighter plane.
Around 40 Fire-Rescue crews immediately responded to the scene, according to CNN.
Witnesses say debris is now strewn over Highway 67 in Texas, where Fire Rescue authorities say an active fire has broken out. The highway is now closed off and traffic is being diverted.
Dallas Fire-Rescue authorities do not yet know the status of either pilot or whether there were any injuries from fallen debris.
But ABC News producer Jeffrey Cook said six people, all crew members, are feared to be dead.
The incident involving the rare World War II-era planes hearkens back to the deadly 2019 crash where a B-17 performing a ‘heritage flight’ tour slammed into a Connecticut airport that left seven dead.
Video posted online shows a B17 bomber quickly approaching the flight path of a Bell P-63 Kingcobra
The larger plane slammed into the Kingcobra at around 1.30pm Saturday, tearing it to shreds
The bomber split in two, as its wings caught fire and it crashed to the ground off Highway 67 in Texas
Pictured: The fiery explosion that followed the devastating crash at the airshow on Saturday
While one plane completely erupted on fire, the piece of another landed just a few feet away (above)
A Dallas resident took another video showing the crash from a nearby McDonald’s
The front of the B17 bomber was completely destroyed after it burst into flames and landed near the airport
The front of the B17 split off from its rears as its wings caught on fire and it spiraled to the ground nearby
The B17 raider was apparently being flown by a member of the Gulf Coast Wings Texas Raiders. They are pictured here
Footage from the aftermath showed smoke billowing above tents at the Dallas festival. Sources say the event was part of the Commemorative Air Force’s show for the Veterans Day weekend.
The bomber was apparently being flown by a member of the Gulf Coast Wings Texas Raiders.
In a statement following the crash, Mayor Eric Johnson called the crash a ‘terrible tragedy in our city.’
‘The videos are heartbreaking,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘Please say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today.’
Anthony Montoya saw the two planes collide, saying he was in complete shock at the horror.
‘I just stood there. I was in complete shock and disbelief,’ said Montoya, 27, who attended the air show with a friend. ‘Everybody around was gasping. Everybody was bursting into tears. Everybody was in shock.’
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
Dallas Fire-Rescue squads are responding to the scene where the B17 bomber crashed down
Smoke was seen billowing into the sky above the Wings Over Dallas festival after two planes crashed mid-air
The crash occurred right over the Dallas Executive Airport, and debris was strewn along Highway 67 in Texas
Wings Over Dallas is an annual airshow hosted by Commemorative Air Force, an organization dedicated to preserving World War II-era aircrafts.
Saturday was scheduled to be the second-day of the three-day show, but Friday’s events were canceled due to inclement weather.
The schedule for Saturday’s event included a parade of bomber planes, like the B17, followed by fighter escorts, like the P-63.
Videos of previous Wings Over Dallas events depict vintage warplanes flying low, sometimes in close formation, on simulated strafing or bombing runs. The videos also show the planes performing aerobatic stunts.
The CAF was founded as a nonprofit in 1961 and the weekend show was part of its Air Power History Tour, advertised as a national tour of World War II-era planes.
The group advertises that all of its shows include at least one extremely rare plane like a Boeing B-29 Superfortrss or a B-24 Liberator.
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.
In a statement, Mayor Eric Johnson called the crash a ‘terrible tragedy in our city’ as he asked residents to ‘say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today’
The two plans were flying over the Dallas Executive Airport when the crash occurred
The historic World War II-era B-17 Flying Fortress and the P-63 Kingcobra planes
B-17s were most commonly used in daytime raids over Germany in WWII as well as causing havoc on enemy shipping in the Pacific.
The most popular of the B-17 bombers, the famed B-17F Memphis Belle, was the first heavy bomber to return to the US after flying 25 missions over Europe.
The Memphis Belle became one of the most iconic symbols of WWII and was portrayed in the 1990s film of the same name, which is a fictionalized account of its last mission in 1943.
Memphis Belle gunners were credited with shooting down eight German fighters – and another five probable kills.
The Bell P-63 Kingcobra was an American fighter aircraft developed by the Bell Aircraft company during World War II, however, it was not accepted for combat use by the US Air Force and would instead be used by the Soviet Air Force.
The plane saw success in the Soviet Union due to its excellent performance at low altitudes, which was where most aerial battles in Eastern Europe were taking place.