Six Dead in Aftermath of Plane Collision at Dallas Airshow

Marina Tanaka / EyeEm via Getty
Marina Tanaka / EyeEm via Getty

A mid-air crash between two planes during an air show left six people dead on Saturday, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner.

The collision took place during the Wings Over Dallas World War II Airshow. The two planes, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, crashed around 1:20 p.m as spectators were watching, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

A veteran pilot who saw the wreckage described the planes as “pulverized,” according to NPR.

All of the pilots involved in the event had been flying for years and went through an intensive review process ahead of the Veteran’s Day Weekend celebration, according to the nonprofit that ran the event and owned both vehicles, The Commemorative Air Force.

“There is a very strict process of training and hours,” said the CEO and president of the organization, Hank Coates, hours after the crash. “All of the pilots have been vetted very carefully. Many of them have been flying with us for 20, 30 years or longer. What I can tell you is this is not their first rodeo.”

Coates added that the B-17, an enormous four-engine bomber, typically has a crew of four to five people, while the P-63 carries just one pilot.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson called the crash a “terrible tragedy,” adding that “the videos are heartbreaking.”

“I just stood there. I was in complete shock and disbelief,” Anthony Montoya, who witnessed the crash, told the Associated Press. “Everybody around was gasping. Everybody was bursting into tears. Everybody was in shock.”

Some of the debris from the collision fell across the highway and in a nearby strip mall, according to Dallas Fire and Rescue, reporting no ground injuries.

The show was part of a three-day Veterans Day weekend event, although Friday’s events had been canceled due to weather. Further shows had been planned for Sunday, although it’s not clear if the Commemorative Air Force will go forward following the accident.

The FAA will investigate the crash alongside the National Transportation Safety Board, the administration said. The US 67 high is closed and traffic is being diverted in the wake of the crash, NBC Dallas Fort Worth reported.

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